Scott wrote:For anyone who has been on a SAR crew, what percentages of the rescues do you say were actually needed?
Depends on what you mean by needed, but I'd say 1/3 of the time the party involved would probably eventually make it out on their own with no serious adverse consequences to their health. Lucky for them the people who go get them do so as volunteers and so the cost per rescue is very small compared to say rescues performed by the NPS, wherein the responders are paid professionals, and the cost is much larger.
mrchad9 wrote:I do not think SAR crews should continue giving rides to people who are not injured or in an emergency situation.
Luckily this doesn't happen all that often in my experience, despite what seems to have been the case 30 years ago in california. Regardless noone has suggested an answer to the main objection to charge-for-rescue. Current SAR system relies on volunteers to keep costs low, volunteers rely on good samaritan laws to operate without more extensive training and liability coverage, good samaritan laws as written would not apply in a charge-for-rescue system. Charge for rescue = less to none volunteers = big-time increase in cost.
Mattyj's point is a great one and no one has come up with an answer for yet. If you are going to charge a user fee for sar per the NPS and Parks Canada model, how do you make sure all the users are paying into it? Presumably in the PNW these costs would get wrapped into sno-parks, NW forest pass, and discovery pass, which would then give the money to the responsible agency: the BLM, USFS, State park, or whoever who would then operate a professional rescue service using those funds.
It's worth pointing out again that sar services provided by these agencies would cost more. From MRNP, http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/u ... -final.pdf
lists 2011 sar costs as: $130,398 of overtime fees, $49,100 of Climbing ranger salaries thought to be related to sar(10% of climbing ranger duty x 491,000 annual salary), $1800 volunteers in park related to sar(10% of volunteer climbing ranger duty x 18000 volunteer climbing ranger cost) = $181,298 / 33 sar ops = $5493 per op
. This does not include most of their aviation cost as that is provided at no charge to the park by JBLM. The operating budget of most of the SAR groups in my county is between $5000 and $25000 per year, let's give it a very high average and say $20000 per year for the eight groups in King County Search and Rescue for $160000 / 70 missions = $2285 per rescue
. This again does not include aviation costs. Keep in mind that the operating budgets of the King County Search and Rescue groups is entirely donation-based, so are not spread among taxpayers and hopefully much to the happiness of those who are in favor of charge-for-rescue are most well-supported by former clients and their families. This also is skewed as MRNP can keep people staged 24/7 in a confined area where rescues are relatively common whereas costs of professional rescue in King County would almost certainly go up as it is a much larger area, and rescues are less common.
A5RP wrote:Excellent point! $100 a year for SAR insurance. Hell, that is the price of new Alien and a couple of biners.
Please, someone tell me that is not affordable.
It all goes to a central State SAR fund managed by the State's Office of Emergency Services.
I am against rescue insurance funding private, professional rescue companies. I have in the past volunteered for a group called Helping At Risk Kids which takes less privileged youth outdoors. The ability to accomplish this would be severely restricted if, in order to guarantee the liability of every participant, we had to come up with $100 each. I in general want to reduce the cost of visiting the mountains, this does not do that.
What happens to this money, does it get distributed to each sar team? If so, again how do you get around the good samaritan laws which only cover volunteer rescuers if they are not financially benefiting from their services? Cost of rescue would go up 2-3x without volunteer sar as I have already pointed out. Also pointed out by mattyj, this is not what was originally proposed. Doesn't this encourage reckless behavior since people are going think they have a $100 get out of jail free pass now? It is not known widely now that rescues are free. Most common question I get from subjects, "How much is this going to cost me?" I personally don't think this will actually make a difference, but regardless it will not encourage the personal responsibility that people seem to be after.
I keep waiting for a cheaper and more equitable system to be proposed, haven't heard it yet.