Skip to comments.For some stranded U.S. adventurers, rescues come at a cost
Posted on 02/18/2013 9:31:52 AM PST by Uncle Chip
(Reuters) - After an all-terrain vehicle accident in the Utah desert last spring, 53-year-old Mikki Babineau expected a long recuperation for collapsed lungs and 18 broken ribs.
What the Idaho woman didn't expect was a $750 bill from the local Utah sheriff's office for sending a volunteer search and rescue unit to her aid, a service for which the sheriff in that county regularly charges fees.
Just a handful of states, including Oregon, Maine and Babineau's home state of Idaho, have laws authorizing local agencies to bill for rescues when factors such as recklessness, illegal activity or false information led to the predicament.
Lawmakers from the Rockies to the Appalachians periodically question why adventurers who incur costs should not have to pay the price - literally.
That debate has heated up this year as legislators in at least two states have sought, so far unsuccessfully, to enact laws to allow fees for rescues.
"In the rare case where a person took unnecessary risks, that person should be sent a bill," said Wyoming Republican Representative Keith Gingery, who tried but failed to pass such a law in his state.
That few states currently allow such billing is chiefly due to objections by national search and rescue groups, who say the prospect of payment could prompt people to delay seeking needed aid, possibly making a dangerous situation worse.
But that has not stopped lawmakers from considering such laws. Legislators in New Hampshire, for example, are seeking to shore up search and rescue funds by establishing fees ranging from $350 to $1,000.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
$750 isn’t much if your life depends on it. People take more risks because they know there’s a safety net.
“the prospect of payment could prompt people to delay seeking needed aid, possibly making a dangerous situation worse.”
It also prompts people to delay seeking UNneeded aid, preventing putting rescuers in danger. Sending a team at high speed into rank wilderness is dangerous.
Most of these remote areas have a very limited population and an even more limited tax base to do these things gratis. If you are going to do these high adventure activities in remote areas, buy some damn supplemental insurance or have your own rescue team standing by.
defining “recklessness”. that’s the crux of the issue.
walking in the gubmint’s pristine nature reserve and breaking your ankle?
or playing X Games participant in your trick-out Jeep?
Perhaps if people are aware that it will cost them money to be rescued from the error of their ways they will take prudent and reasonable steps to protect themselves from becoming a victim. Duh!!!
Now, hold muh beer and watch this...
$750 PROBABLY WOULDN’T EVEN COVER THE FUEL COSTS! She should pay it and be thanking God she’s still alive to do so! The taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for her stupidity and reckless behavior.....
Generally people fund rescue services through taxes. By charging fees the services are really raising taxes. In California if a Fire Department ambulance shows up a fire truck and rescue vehicle appears. The poor soul unfortunate to get such “service’ foots the bill for the additional vehicles and personel. The cover story is they do not know whether or not the fire truck and emergency vehicle may not be needed. Such “reasoning” does not cover my elderly neighbor who has every emergency vehicle appear at his house while his son holds the door open.
If you plan to go into the mountains or back country in Colorado, SERIOUSLY consider the CORSAR card. It is only $3 for one year and covers any search and rescue costs. If you have a current hunting or fishing license, you are covered as well.
You put your and other people lives in danger you should pay! I believe that if you go into the wilderness then you should have to put up a bond to cover you in case they have to rescue you!
Generally people fund rescue services through taxes. By charging fees the services are really raising taxes. In California if a Fire Department ambulance shows up a fire truck and rescue vehicle appears. The poor soul unfortunate to get such “service’ foots the bill for the additional vehicles and personel. The cover story is they do not know whether or not the fire truck and emergency vehicle may not be needed. Such “reasoning” does not cover my elderly neighbor who has every emergency vehicle appear at his house while his son holds the door open. He is simply an elderly diabetic having blood sugar problems of unknown origin.
yeah... here in my neck of michigan, we get, every year, the dumbass ice fishermen who think that the ice is thick enough despite warnings, and end up cast adrift in the middle of lake st clair... helicopters and coast guard pickin’ their stupid ignorant butts off a damn icefloe...
I struggle with whether these fees are appropriate. If there is money in the state or county budget for rescue that is paid for by all taxpayers, then why are these fees being assessed? There is a danger that this is yet another way to feed money to the government. And it makes people wary of calling the police or emergency response for help, especially if they have no idea what the bill is going to be. If the response team has an efficient budget and is not loading outrageous salary, overtime or other costs onto the person being rescued, and if part of the cost is being paid by the taxpayer so the person being rescued isn’t paying the full burden, I could go along with this. But my suspicion is that this is just another way to feed more money to the government for wasteful spending on other things.
Bout time...As an X CG Sar person I can relate.
people that do stupid hi risk thrill stuff and fail should defiantly be billed for xtreem amounts because the rescuers risk there lives and some time die doing it.
The thrill seeker in the later scenario should be charged in some way with the death.....
It might also discourage people from engaging in risky behavior.
Considering the liberals are trying to create vast tracts of wilderness without humans I’m sure they’d support your idea.
Never mind that we all pay taxes which in turn pays for the emergency responders.
We also pay for permits to access the wilderness areas on federal and state lands.
I can see a reasonable fee but anything which can be used as a barrier to accessing remote areas isn’t a good idea.
Alaskans live far from medical care, boaters go to sea in dangerous conditions, and people on their death bed take cruises - - - and then they call the Coast Guard when things go south. Rescuers put their lives on the line and boatloads of tax payer dollars fuel up and maintain the helos - and the Coast Guard only charges if illegal activities were involved.
Maybe, if people had to pay to be rescued, they would think twice before living remotely or stupidly.