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#76 - 09/25/09 05:47 PM Billing for Search and Rescue
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
I posted an article in chat about a kid who got lost in New Hampshire and the SAR billed him $25,000. Is that where off-Whitney topics are to be posted or can that go in general discusion cuz it is a hiking topic? I want to get this right.


Edit: Changed the thread subject title.


Edited by Steve C (11/04/09 08:44 AM)

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#77 - 09/25/09 08:58 PM Re: Question about topics [Re: Rod]
PhilI Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 9
Loc: Sierra Madre, CA
Steve:
Not sure where to bring up this question regarding the board: Do we want discussion about other Eastern Sierra destinations besides the Whitney Zone?
My thoughts are that it would be appropriate because of the JMT and other trails that connect to it.
Or is this getting too broad? Could it be a separate forum "Other eastern Sierra areas"?

Just wanted to throw it out there for discussion.

- Phil

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#78 - 09/25/09 10:44 PM Re: Question about topics [Re: Rod]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Rod
I posted an article in chat about a kid who got lost in New Hampshire and the SAR billed him $25,000. Is that where off-Whitney topics are to be posted or can that go in general discusion cuz it is a hiking topic? I want to get this right.
I think that one is a toss up, Rod. It is pretty far from Whitney, yet it could affect hikers close by too. So I think your call to put it in the chat forum is just fine. ....We can always move it over to general if it becomes a discussion worth keeping. Moving threads only requires a couple of clicks. ...in fact, I'm moving this one to the Association forum.

Originally Posted By: PhilI
Steve:
Not sure where to bring up this question regarding the board: Do we want discussion about other Eastern Sierra destinations besides the Whitney Zone?
My thoughts are that it would be appropriate because of the JMT and other trails that connect to it.
Or is this getting too broad? Could it be a separate forum "Other eastern Sierra areas"?

Just wanted to throw it out there for discussion.

- Phil
Phil, my feeling is that it is just fine for the General forum. In fact, thanks for the question. Based on your wondering, I added the word "all" to the forum description:  Mt. Whitney and all hiking Q&A topics

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#92 - 09/26/09 08:49 PM Re: Question about topics [Re: Steve C]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Can you imagine how many lives might be lost if people become afraid of being tagged with a rescue bill? It would be a scary outdoor world. It might be enough to keep some unqualified people from getting in over their head but accidents happen to very experienced people also. I think of someone like Kent Ashcraft who was very experienced and had such a tragic accident.If someone like that can get in trouble anyone might end up needing rescue.What would you do if you knew making that rescue call could bankrupt you?

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#444 - 11/03/09 12:30 AM Re: Question about topics [Re: Rod]
Joel M. Baldwin Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento Ca USA
I think it's a toss up as to which is worst:

)being afraid of dialing 911 and as a result getting into worst trouble.
)dialing 911 when you're REALLY in trouble and not getting it because someone else ran out of water and dialed 911.

People need to accept responsibility for their actions.

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#499 - 11/04/09 06:53 AM Re: Billing for Search and Rescue [Re: Joel M. Baldwin]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
As many of you know, I am a member of CLMRG (the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group). CLMRG is one of about 20 teams in California that belong to the national MRA (Mountain Rescue Association). All of these, together with water, urban, cave, etc., SAR teams, belong to NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue). And all have vigorously opposed charging victims for SAR, going way back to when the question first arose decades ago.

NASAR issued the following position statement on April 30, 2009:

Billing for Searches and Rescues Endangers the Public and Rescuers

Washington, DC April 30, 2009. The National Association for Search and Rescue has joined the Mountain Rescue Association, the Colorado Search and Rescue Board, the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists, the United States Coast Guard and the National Park Service -- all of which either oppose billing, or do not bill, people after a search and rescue (SAR) operation. "Although it remains a local decision, billing for search and rescue operations is a dangerous practice that should be avoided," said NASAR President Dan Hourihan.

NASAR takes the position, "To eliminate the fear of being unable to pay for having one's life saved, SAR services should be rendered to persons in danger or distress without subsequent cost-recovery from the person(s) assisted unless prior arrangements have been made. The mission of SAR organizations is to save lives, not just the lives of those who can afford to pay the bill. As such, methods and means should be developed and used that diffuse the cost of humanitarian SAR operations among the many, allowing --anyone to reasonably expect emergency aid without regard to their circumstances."

The idea of not billing for SAR services confuses many people. However, SAR professionals across the nation know of many instances in which someone -- after an unforeseen accident, or spending hours searching for their missing companion -- delayed calling for help. Each "remembered" hearing, seeing or reading, "somewhere" that rescues and searches cost "thousands of dollars -- which they could not afford. Some have even chosen not to call for help, or refused emergency help.

In 2006, a young hiker became stranded on Colorado's 14,270' Quandary Peak. She called 9-1-1, but asked the SAR team leader just to "talk her out of the area." The sun had already set and cold weather surrounded her in a dangerous area of the mountain. She repeatedly said the SAR team should not come to help her. After going back and forth with her on her cell phone, the SAR team leader finally asked why she didn't want help. She replied, "I can't afford it." He explained that there would be no charge and she then relented.

"A delay can place SAR personnel in danger and can unnecessarily compound and lengthen a SAR mission," said Hourihan. "Not calling for emergency SAR help could be as catastrophic as not calling the fire department when a small stove-top fire jumps to the ceiling and instantly fills the kitchen with flames, because the home owner's first thought was 'how in the world will I pay the fire department?'"

Then-U.S.C.G. Commandant James Loy explained it best, in 1999, in the Coast Guard's very similar position. "If the specter of financial reimbursement hung over the decision to report maritime distress, we could get fewer calls, we would get calls during later stages of emergencies, and more people would die at sea. This factor alone outweighs any consideration of how much money we might recoup," said Admiral Loy.
# # #

Founded in 1973, the National Association for Search and Rescue comprises more than 10,000 volunteer and paid search and rescue professionals who work at the local, state and national level in land, aviation and water SAR. NASAR conducts hundreds of training courses and thousands of certification exams each year. More than 11,000 people hold any of 11 NASAR certifications in SAR operations.


National Association for Search and Rescue
P.O. Box 232020, Centreville, VA 20120 (Washington, DC)
www.nasar.org (877) 893-0702


Notwithstanding the above, sometimes people get themselves into a SAR situation by egregiously poor decisions and behavior. That's a horse of a different color, and they can be cited and charged.

There are many examples, and I remember this one from years ago. A hunter went into the high country west of Little Lake, and shot a buck. He was a few miles from the road, and it was too big for him to pack out. So he decided to wait until he was missed, a search would be launched, and a helicopter would find him. Carry him out, along with his gear,...and his buck.

It all worked like clockwork, but the (Navy) helo crew drew the line at the buck. He was charged.

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#521 - 11/04/09 03:10 PM Re: Billing for Search and Rescue [Re: Bob R]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Good stuff thannks Bob.Nice to know that the cost component is taken out of the equation(by some agencies) when someone is trying to decide whether to call for SAR or not.You either need help to survive or you don't.That should be the only criteria.We can debate all the wisdom some people use when they get themselves into trouble but that is a never ending discusion.

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