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Charging for rescues

 
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RichardK



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:40 am    Post subject: Charging for rescues  Reply with quote

This article about Mt Baldy rescues recently appeared.

http://www.sbsun.com/lifestyle/20...d-to-questions-about-trail-safety

I learned something new in this paragraph. Out of county residents have their home counties billed for rescue costs - not the victims, but their county governments.

Quote:
The estimated average cost for a search and rescue is less than $10,000. San Bernardino County residents needing assistance aren’t charged. Other counties are charged if their residents must be rescued, said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller.

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AW
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, a state law was passed in 2015 that allow counties to charge their own up to $12,000(indexed to inflation). Orange and San Diego are ready to charge.

Counties also pay for those mutual aid agreements. So if you are a S.D. resident and get SAR'd in J-Tree, which is done by SanBern, you could get a bill....or at least S.D. is paying SanBern even though the NPS doesnt charge anyone.
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Gene



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, a step in the right direction, though the bill should go the folks that made the decision to get themselves in a position to be rescued.  Not so much for true accidents, floods disasters etc., if you want to play stupid games you should also be willing to pay for the cost.

Personally, I do not think public money, i.e., taxpayer dollars, should be used to underwrite things like extreme mountain biking, extreme dirt biking/ORV, bungee jumping, base jumping, extreme skiing etc.
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whatmeworry



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gene wrote:
Wow, a step in the right direction, though the bill should go the folks that made the decision to get themselves in a position to be rescued.  Not so much for true accidents, floods disasters etc., if you want to play stupid games you should also be willing to pay for the cost.

Personally, I do not think public money, i.e., taxpayer dollars, should be used to underwrite things like extreme mountain biking, extreme dirt biking/ORV, bungee jumping, base jumping, extreme skiing etc.


Define extreme vs. non-extreme.
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Gene



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whatmeworry wrote:
Gene wrote:
Wow, a step in the right direction, though the bill should go the folks that made the decision to get themselves in a position to be rescued.  Not so much for true accidents, floods disasters etc., if you want to play stupid games you should also be willing to pay for the cost.

Personally, I do not think public money, i.e., taxpayer dollars, should be used to underwrite things like extreme mountain biking, extreme dirt biking/ORV, bungee jumping, base jumping, extreme skiing etc.


Define extreme vs. non-extreme.


Good point, all of them until some sort of standard can be set.  Just watch the sport of extreme skiing, essentially jumping off a now covered cliff.  You want to do that, be my guest, just don't ask for public money to pay for your rescue and the treatment of your injuries.
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Sean
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whatmeworry wrote:
Gene wrote:
Personally, I do not think public money, i.e., taxpayer dollars, should be used to underwrite things like extreme mountain biking, extreme dirt biking/ORV, bungee jumping, base jumping, extreme skiing etc.


Define extreme vs. non-extreme.


"Extreme" is partly relative to skill level. For the giggling girls who recently got pulled out of Las Flores, following a trail was apparently an extreme challenge. I think our taxes should go toward saving lives in the mountains. But maybe there is a threshold of recklessness at which point people are fined for a misdemeanor. This could be for small things like not carrying enough water and food on the Skyline Trail in summertime. Or bigger things like climbing up a cliff that you can't climb down.
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SGBob



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean wrote:

"Extreme" is partly relative to skill level. For the giggling girls who recently got pulled out of Las Flores, following a trail was apparently an extreme challenge. I think our taxes should go toward saving lives in the mountains. But maybe there is a threshold of recklessness at which point people are fined for a misdemeanor. This could be for small things like not carrying enough water and food on the Skyline Trail in summertime. Or bigger things like climbing up a cliff that you can't climb down.


I agree completely, but I think it generally isn't done more because of logistics than politics. Unless you charge everyone, even legitimate victims, you have to define who will be charged and under what circumstances. That means that you have to spend money investigating the incident, and perhaps going to court to prove the outcome of the investigation should a person refuse to pay. Those costs could easily exceed the cost of the rescue very quickly.
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gene wrote:

Good point, all of them until some sort of standard can be set.  Just watch the sport of extreme skiing, essentially jumping off a now covered cliff.  You want to do that, be my guest, just don't ask for public money to pay for your rescue and the treatment of your injuries.


That's a valid observation, but how many rescues do you see because of extreme skiing and similar activity? From what I see, the vast majority of rescues involve regular folks engaged in what I would not characterize as pretty ordinary activity. Dumb sometimes, but not extreme.

Search and rescue exists for a reason just like the Highway Patrol. I don't believe we charge folks for making dumb decisions on the road that warrants intervention by the CHP (yet), and we shouldn't do it with Search and Rescue. Folks shouldn't have to choose between dying/becoming seriously injured or paying a huge bill they can't afford simply because they perhaps make an error in  judgment, or don't make an error in judgment but find themselves in a predicament (e.g., Ellen's recent "adventure"). That's just bad policy in my view.

In terms of cost to the taxpayer, there's a lot of places our tax dollars go that perhaps we don't like, but it's like my mom used to say to me as kid: it's what you do as a contributing member of society.
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Gene



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Rico wrote:
Gene wrote:

Good point, all of them until some sort of standard can be set.  Just watch the sport of extreme skiing, essentially jumping off a now covered cliff.  You want to do that, be my guest, just don't ask for public money to pay for your rescue and the treatment of your injuries.


That's a valid observation, but how many rescues do you see because of extreme skiing and similar activity? From what I see, the vast majority of rescues involve regular folks engaged in what I would not characterize as pretty ordinary activity. Dumb sometimes, but not extreme.

Search and rescue exists for a reason just like the Highway Patrol. I don't believe we charge folks for making dumb decisions on the road that warrants intervention by the CHP (yet), and we shouldn't do it with Search and Rescue. Folks shouldn't have to choose between dying/becoming seriously injured or paying a huge bill they can't afford simply because they perhaps make an error in  judgment, or don't make an error in judgment but find themselves in a predicament (e.g., Ellen's recent "adventure"). That's just bad policy in my view.

In terms of cost to the taxpayer, there's a lot of places our tax dollars go that perhaps we don't like, but it's like my mom used to say to me as kid: it's what you do as a contributing member of society.


It's a matter of personal responsibility.  We most certainly do charge folks for making bad decisions on the road, the CHP issues citations and your actions could be examined in a courtroom.  I'm not advocating hikers police, but at some point personal responsibility must come into play.  To give it another face, when a camper builds an open fire that burns thousands of acres do they get an, "Oh well." for bad judgement?

The costs do not stop with rescue, they continue with hospitalization, rehabilitation and lost work time.  There has to be a point of intolerance for public funding of stupidity.

People have a basic right to be foolish, they do not have a right to take the rest of us along, neither physically or financeally.
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Uncle Rico



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There has to be a point of intolerance for public funding of stupidity.


I might give you that, but what is that point? And who is going to be the arbiter of what is stupid, what is not stupid but reckless, what is not reckless but simply negligent, what is risky but not necessarily negligent, and what is none of the above? Is the test going to be if you need rescue then you were stupid regardless of circumstances? You can conjure up all sorts of examples. What about the middle-aged guy who after too many years of eating burgers and drinking beer takes up hiking, decides to try the Ski Hut trail, has a heart attack on the way up, and has to be rescued? He's not engaging in any sort of activity that most people would call "extreme," but what about stupidity? Should he be charged because he maybe exhibited poor judgment in tackling a hike that was a bit beyond his fitness capabilities? I personally don't think so, but some would call him "stupid."

The point it I think it's very easy to say we're not going to publicly fund "stupid" but very difficult to implement, at least on any reasonable basis.

And if we're going to charge folks for their own rescues, then what really is the point in having publicly funded SAR? Just eliminate it altogether and let the private sector flood in and offer the same services...for a price.

Quote:
We most certainly do charge folks for making bad decisions on the road, the CHP issues citations and your actions could be examined in a courtroom.


Well that's really the difference ain't it? Someone's bad decisions are adjudicated in a courtroom before they are penalized. In other words, there's some established process in place where some neutral third party looks at all the facts and circumstances and determines that the person made a bad decision before a penalty is imposed. Maybe that happens with the cost of a rescue (I candidly don't know), but it sounds to me like the decision about whether to charge or not charge someone is made by "someone" on a more ad hoc basis.
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Gene



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is always a "price" regardless of how it is paid, either by the individual rescued or by the general public.  There is no such thing as government funds.

An independent arbiter the rescue agency could consult if they see a particular rescue as out of the norm sounds like a good idea. A nominal fee charged to all rescues is another idea.

There is a somewhat parallel to the rescue issue, the use and abuse of ambulance services as taxi.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SGBob wrote:
I agree completely, but I think it generally isn't done more because of logistics than politics. Unless you charge everyone, even legitimate victims, you have to define who will be charged and under what circumstances. That means that you have to spend money investigating the incident, and perhaps going to court to prove the outcome of the investigation should a person refuse to pay. Those costs could easily exceed the cost of the rescue very quickly.


I'm sure an objective law could be formulated to define what is reckless versus accidental. There are already laws like this for other activities like driving. I believe it's the moral way to deal with such problems that don't involve actual felonies, yet incur a cost on society in general. People know that if they drive recklessly on the roads, they might be ticketed and fined. They still drive recklessly. But at least they are compelled to pay for their poor behavior in a way that potentially will teach them a lesson. Plus, society can track the reckless drivers and increase the level of punishment with each subsequent infraction, if need be. A similar system could be set up for reckless hikers.

Unfortunately, there is probably a legal and jurisdictional conflict with this idea, since the national forest is federal land, yet most rescues are conducted by local or county agencies.
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DukeJH



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Texas Parks and Wildlife (Game Wardens) issue citations for criminal offenses for which fines are assessed by the court and TPWD assesses civil restitution.  I am not advocating for licenses for outdoor activity that does not directly take natural resources but there seems to be something here that parallels rescue cost, personal judgment, and criminal behavior.

"In addition to the criminal penalty for hunting and fishing violations, the department will seek the civil recovery value for the loss or damage to wildlife resources. The civil restitution cost is payable to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is in addition to the fine assessed by the court. Failure to pay the civil recovery value will result in the department's refusal to issue a license, tag, or permit. An individual who hunts or fishes after the refusal commits a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine not less than $500 or more than $4,000; punishment in jail not to exceed one year; or both fine and confinement."
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RichardK



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Rescues Reply with quote

Our tax dollars cover a lot of stupid situations. If you are smoking in bed and set your house on fire, the fire dept still comes to put it out. It's annoying when you see people in generally accepted high risk activities like wing suit flying or BASE jumping getting expensive rescues. But, the general public might think that hiking Mt. Baldy in winter is a high risk activity. Who decides if Ellen gets a bill?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean wrote:

I'm sure an objective law could be formulated to define what is reckless versus accidental.


The ban of off-trail . Only nanny state activities approved, per the outdoor tourism lobby. If there is any possibility of being hurt that can be imagined, that means you will be hurt and its legally a reckless mentally ill activity.If the outdoor companies cant explain it and sell it  in 15 seconds , its still a bit taboo and racist,etc.

In the OC, at the time of the 'hiking' duo, the outdoors was to be left alone and only weirdos go there. Thus the worst SAR in modern Socal history and declaring this law to be the answer. Quietly though, the OC  police have started to acquire outdoor awareness, instead of focusing on being big brother. http://behindthebadgeoc.com/citie...kers-stranded-cliff-whiting-ranch "The three hikers will not have to pay for the rescue. Any rescues by the OCSD are considered emergency services, and the OCSD does not charge individuals for that."
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