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.
$750...she got off cheap.
So we should all be contained to major population centers?
She got off cheap. Dying alone under an atv would have been free.
This is very true.
My daughter passed out and quit breathing.
I called for an ambulance and 3 vehicles showed up.
It cost her $1500. Bucks because they billed her twice and she had lost the receipt from the first billing
No kidding. I paid $750 for literally a 2 mile ride several years ago.
I don’t think I am stupid for going into the wilderness. My wife and friends think I am because I always go alone.
Everytime I strap myself to a bicycle and head off into the unknown I am prepared if I don’t/can’t return. I’m pretty sure I’d have no problem paying any price for rescue. I would obviously not want to find myself in a situation where a rescue team was required, I think it far more likely they’ll find my bones. But I try to take the proper preparations and manage the risks as well as possible. Up to and including carrying a satellite rescue beacon.
I just love the adventure and surviving it. So, don’t call me stupid, call me LOCO!
Could you try that link again? I’m getting 404.
The problem, of course, is that the yuppies, and other urban folks, don’t pay the taxes which support the emergency services they consume and they don’t bear the cost, both economic and social, of injury or death to the rescuers.
Perhaps but the premise most here seem to be taking is that the government gets to decide who can access the more remote parts of America.
Yup — they send you bills for that EMT ride to the hospital now — about $500 just about anywhere in the country.
$750 for that ride in a wilderness area is cheap.
Right on. If I were to be rescued from some predicament, I would offer money to those who helped me. Even the Titanic survivors put money in a kitty for the crew of the Carpathia.
Here, a “rescue” from the parking lot of the hospital’s ER costs just the same as one from 10 miles away, but still within the city.
To you just riding an ATV constitutes a "stupid game"?
Do you spend your time playing horseshoes or lawn bowling or something? Get out more.
So, in your wisdom it's a good thing to pay by way of taxes a comfortable wage, health, and retirement package to first responders along with investing in their equipment. Then, when they get called to get off their asses, you get fined? I'll take one or the other, but both is too Obama like.
I’ve lived and worked in 5 national parks.
When people have injured themselves I have provided aid, carried supplies for other first responders, hauled packs, gear and even children out of the grand canyon,bryce and death valley. I’ve done search and rescue in the maze of Utah and pulled injured and dead vacationers out of Lake Powell. I never asked for a dime or a thank you.
After the fact, if it was deemed by the higher-ups that it was carelessness that created the incident, these people got a partial bill.
As for getting out more;
I’ve got more than 2 hundred miles BELOW the rim of the Grand Canyon.
I’ve hiked from Joshua tree through to the Scotty’s Castle.
And I was in yellowstone for the ‘88.
A $5.00 fee will not cover a $500,000 rescue!!!!
Last year while trail riding in Oregon I came upon a motorcycle accident (true unforeseeable accident; not related to negligence or improper use of the vehicle). Although 35 miles from civilization, five different agencies showed up to rescue the guy. Very professional and very impressive. In cases where the operator is found to have acted carelessly I hope the agencies do act to recovery partial costs.
If you go in the wilderness and you get lost, the taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for it.
Unless there was like an unforeseen change in the weather or some mitigating circumstance that kept you from making it home.
This comes with the territory. When you leave civilization behind, you’re responsible for your own well-being and knowing what the laws are. Particularly when you may be in need of rescue.
well gee, imagine that. but if you get a lot of people in there paying fees it would cover it.
but tell me, where is the cut off that you propose? If someone does something stupid and they live 10 miles away from a hospital should they pay more? Or maybe its 15 miles.
if you start allowing them to force the fees on people who have accidents then you are allowing them to control whether anyone goes there.
I have insurance I pay property taxes which covers the fire department ambulance!! I still have to pay extra for a ride to the hospital!!
Back in early 90’s Sieera Club offered inexpensive insurance for people using National Parks/desert areas.
If i remember correctly cost was 65.00 for length of trip, covered medical extraction search and rescue.
Even back then people did not take insurance to cover their possible expenses.
as an aside- I had this information from a friend involved with sierra club.
He ussually took vacations in out of the way places out west. He always carried the insurance
MedEvacs are not a mission of the Coast Guard - but in Alaska (and other coastal areas) it is an expectation. Mission creep. Dangerous mission creep.