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Re: Paying for your own rescue

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Paying for your own rescue
December 26, 2012 05:39PM
Should stranded adventurers pay for own rescue?

Some states are considering billing victims for back-country rescues. But one group warns that the policy may discourage people from getting help.

By Bruce Kennedy
12/26/2012

The blogosphere is afire with praise for an in-depth and amazing multimedia report by the New York Times about the world-class skiers who were caught up in a deadly avalanche last winter in Washington state.

The report focuses on the perils facing skiers who go into the unmonitored back country. It also coincides with news that several states -- including those where skiing, hiking and other outdoor recreation are big business -- are considering legislation to bill victims of back-country mishaps for some rescue operations.

Lawmakers in Wyoming are considering a bill that would let local law enforcement charge for search-and-rescue (SAR) missions in cases where they believe the victims put themselves into harm’s way.

The legislation came after an incident last winter: a $14,000 operation to rescue three snowmobilers trapped in a mountain pass. When state officials asked the snowmobilers to help pay for some of the costs of their rescue, the three hired an attorney -- who questioned if the state had the authority to ask for such a payment.

In response, the proposed measure would let rescue payments "be left up to the discretion of the sheriff (involved)," Wyoming representative Keith Gingery, the bill’s sponsor, told the Jackson Hole News and Guide. "They'll say which ones are victims or whether someone may have contributed to the situation."

If the measure is passed, Wyoming would join a growing list of states and counties that allow some sort of fee for search-and-rescue operations.


http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=dae0a134-7b68-48db-8829-35b36f7a929b



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2012 05:39PM by KenS.
avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 26, 2012 06:58PM
Quote
KenS

But one group warns that the policy may discourage people from getting help

As if that would automatically be a bad thing?

Right now there seems to be a problem, especially with people that have Spot II Satellite GPS Messenger devices and such, of asking for emergency help, when it's not really needed.

It's more than reasonable for states and the federal government to ask for some amount of reimbursement for SAR operations, especially from the people being rescued who contributed to their predicament due to some reckless action of theirs.

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avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 26, 2012 09:12PM
Quote
plawrence
. . . snip . . .
It's more than reasonable for states and the federal government to ask for some amount of reimbursement for SAR operations, especially from the people being rescued who contributed to their predicament due to some reckless action of theirs.

.

In general I'd agree with this . . . but . . .

who's going to decide if the action was reckless? That's such a subjective decision, at least in some cases. There'll be the obvious idiots, but what about the gray cases?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2012 09:14PM by qumqats.
avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 26, 2012 11:52PM
Ideally, there would be established guidelines that authorities could use to help determine the culpability of the person(s) in causing their own need of being rescued. And there should also be an appeal process where the person being billed could use to argue his/her case for not having to help pay for the cost of their own rescue.

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avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 27, 2012 07:17AM
Ideally does not exist when it comes to establishing guidlines or interpreting them. Is skiing in the backcountry an unnecessary risk? Is an experienced rock climber on El Cap taking an unnecessary risk? Does hiking off-trail alone in High Sierra backcountry constitute unnecessary risk? Does hiking off-trail with company in High Sierra backcountry constitute unnecessary risk? Or is it only unnecessary if you break a leg, get bitten by a rattler, or cause an avalanch? No two people in authority are going to see it the same way. Some instances such as "We ran out of water" or "We got tired" are real occurances of outright stupidity that should have been charged for but there are so many other instances where a clear-cut answer is ambiguous.
avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 28, 2012 02:09PM
You're making sound too hard to establish common-sense guidelines.

Skiing in the backcountry: not unnecessary risk. Starting a backcountry cross-country ski trip with a blizzard approaching, a very unnecessary risk.

Experienced rock climber on El Cap? Depends if he or she decided to try a very risky move or not.

Of course, hiking off-trail properly prepared (with compass, trail map or some other navigation aid) is not unnecessary risk. Hiking off trial with no navigational aids or tools is.

It's simply wouldn't be that difficult to come up with some sensible guidelines that most (but probably not all) people would agree with.

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avatar Re: Paying for your own rescue
December 29, 2012 10:55AM
Quote
plawrence
It's simply wouldn't be that difficult to come up with some sensible guidelines that most (but probably not all) people would agree with.
.

I think you are dreaming. The capacity for errant interpretation amongst officials charged with that resposibility is over the top. The concepts of "sensible" and "reasonable" are routinely warped by people in all kinds of situations.
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