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#191008 - 12/16/09 02:30 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: MostlyHarmless]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
My position on SAR for what it is worth was stated in this thread (this not directed at you -you were the next on the thread addressing the issue of SAR):

Thread on Scout Rescue/Fine

Pete

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#191009 - 12/16/09 02:33 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: MostlyHarmless]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
Originally Posted By: MostlyHarmless
[quote=Pete


I disagree with those whose gut reaction it is to claim that SAR services should be restricted or paid for. Rescuing people seems to be a pretty good investment (and yes, that includes saving someone whose choices may have been negligent, stupid or uninformed). It is among the things I am most happy and willing to pay tax for.


...


Rescuing people is an iffy investment. The shock trauma unit in Baltimore was built as an advanced emergency services center; it was sort of assumed that it would save societally useful folks like poets, physicists and elected officials. Not so much. They found that they were taking care of alumni: folks who got drunk, crashed a camaro, got helicoptered to shock trauma, got saved, rehabilitated, got a new camaro, got drunk, and did it again. Sar folk, ice climbers, and er nurses do what they do because they want to do so. All the choices have consequences. It is unseemly for ice climbers to expect rescue. It is unseemly for SAR folk to gripe about rescuing ice climbers. It is unseemly for ER nurses to gripe about caring for SAR personnel and ice climbers who get hurt doing what they do. Everyone should stop whining and get on with it, or choose a different line of endeavor.
_________________________
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

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#191011 - 12/16/09 02:49 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: Russ]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
+1 on Dagny's comments on page 8. Although on the flip side of that, here, unless we pay annual fire dues to our responding fire department, there is a charge for responding to a fire. Same with ambulance. Not sure if this is SOP all around the country or not. No charge for police services though.

In response to James, perhaps "luck" is the wrong word, but what else would you call a string of unfortunate and unforeseeable events. Unfortunate event number one: "Preiss said the photos also appeared to show that one of the planned routes was too dangerous and that they were forced to try a different route." Unfortunate event number two: whatever event that occurred to force Luke Gullberg to head back down the mountain alone. Unfortunate event number three: Gullberg's apparent fall on Reed Glacier (from article in lazy Joe's post on page 1) while presumably going for help. Other events, such as no note on Gullberg's person, no visible marking of the location of the other two climber's shelter, going on a climb mere days before a severe weather front was anticipated, any lack of necessary survival gear, etc can all be attributed to lack of preparation and poor decision making but IMO the first three - bad luck. Call it by whatever you will, it is what it is.

In response to the other pete about beacons, it is difficult to say from the article what Rollins meant by his comment since we are not sure exactly what he was referring to (i.e. Gullberg or the other two hikers) or when the comment was made. The last update to the article was late (7:44pm) on Monday evening but the article also mentions "A storm is expected to move in Monday evening ..." so who knows what was said when. At this point it is all conjecture.

Another +1 to nursemike.

Another important lesson learned - bad weather will hamper S&R so don't go on an excursion mere days before bad weather is predicted.
_________________________
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

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#191015 - 12/16/09 03:32 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: Mark_F]
Pete Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1314
Follow-Ups for all readers ...

1. I took a look at the data from the PLB folks. The beacon starts by locating its position to within an accuracy of 2 miles based on the SARSAT (much better if GPS is present!). But it also has its own radio homing signal to guide rescuers who get within that range of the source. So it's a good design. People just need to carry them! A lot of the debate about cost of S&R would be a moot point ... if wilderness travelers would carry these things on their person.

2. As someone mentioned earlier, you shouldn't only carry a PLB if you think things "could go bad". You need to carry the device every time you make any extended journey into the wildernerness. Life is unpredictable. If you want to get rescued, you need the right gear to make it happen.

3. Climbing mishaps are reported in "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" (American Alpine Club). The commentaries and analysis are generally excellent - but they can only report what is known. The resolution to this particular incident must wait until the missing bodies are found, and even then a lot of the circumstances will never be known for sure.

4. I completely agree with the comments on this forum about the trip planning situation where a "storm is expected". There are too many hikers and climbers who are going into the wilderness under the assumption - "I'll make it back out before the bad weather hits". That is a disastrous way to plan a trip.

5. If you ever find yourself "going for help" in an emergency while your other team members are stranded, it sure is a good idea to write a note explaining where they are and what happened .. and carry that note in your pocket.

cheers,
other Pete


Edited by Pete (12/16/09 06:44 PM)

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#191032 - 12/16/09 05:16 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: Mark_F]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 979
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom
+1 on Dagny's comments on page 8. Although on the flip side of that, here, unless we pay annual fire dues to our responding fire department, there is a charge for responding to a fire. Same with ambulance. Not sure if this is SOP all around the country or not. No charge for police services though.

In response to James, perhaps "luck" is the wrong word, but what else would you call a string of unfortunate and unforeseeable events. Unfortunate event number one: "Preiss said the photos also appeared to show that one of the planned routes was too dangerous and that they were forced to try a different route." Unfortunate event number two: whatever event that occurred to force Luke Gullberg to head back down the mountain alone. Unfortunate event number three: Gullberg's apparent fall on Reed Glacier (from article in lazy Joe's post on page 1) while presumably going for help. Other events, such as no note on Gullberg's person, no visible marking of the location of the other two climber's shelter, going on a climb mere days before a severe weather front was anticipated, any lack of necessary survival gear, etc can all be attributed to lack of preparation and poor decision making but IMO the first three - bad luck. Call it by whatever you will, it is what it is.

In response to the other pete about beacons, it is difficult to say from the article what Rollins meant by his comment since we are not sure exactly what he was referring to (i.e. Gullberg or the other two hikers) or when the comment was made. The last update to the article was late (7:44pm) on Monday evening but the article also mentions "A storm is expected to move in Monday evening ..." so who knows what was said when. At this point it is all conjecture.

Another +1 to nursemike.

Another important lesson learned - bad weather will hamper S&R so don't go on an excursion mere days before bad weather is predicted.


+1

In mountaineering, hazards are broken down into subjective
and objective.

Things you can control or mitigate are subjective- IE the
equipment you bring, the time you start the climb, etc.

Objective are the hazards that you have no control over-
rock fall, avalanche etc.

So luck is a part of mountaineering, it is the avoidance
of the objective hazards through no doing of your own.
Grace.

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#191034 - 12/16/09 05:25 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: James_Van_Artsdalen
Originally Posted By: JohnN

My point was that the batteries don't have to last forever. If the location is determined, SAR will likely to to the location even if the device stops transmitting.

If the PLB has no GPS, or the GPS couldn't get a fix, then the accuracy of SARSAT is perhaps .5 to 1 miles.

The problem here probably isn't "can the batteries last long enough" but "can the survivors last long enough".

Even if they had activated a PLB on the first day a rescue might not have happened then. If the SAR team leader gets a notice at 1pm with bad weather moving in at 3pm or 4pm, the rescue might be put off until the next day rather than put SAR personnel on the mountain in bad weather as it is getting dark...


While I understand that it doesn't do the climbers any good if SAR cannot get them, the bottom line is without knowledge of their location, additional time is lost searching, once they *can* mount a rescue.

-john

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#191044 - 12/16/09 06:53 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: Dagny]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1929
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Dagny
Originally Posted By: haertig
However, I feel that the families/friends/survivors who requested the rescue should be billed for the costs. UNLESS this is a normally taxpayer funded operation


I strenuously disagree.

...

We all pay taxes for services we'll never use that are intended for people in situations we pray that we and our friends and family will never find ourselves in.


Didn't I say "UNLESS this is a normally taxpayer funded operation"?

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#191049 - 12/16/09 07:06 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: haertig]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1906
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: haertig
Originally Posted By: Dagny
Originally Posted By: haertig
However, I feel that the families/friends/survivors who requested the rescue should be billed for the costs. UNLESS this is a normally taxpayer funded operation


I strenuously disagree.

...

We all pay taxes for services we'll never use that are intended for people in situations we pray that we and our friends and family will never find ourselves in.


Didn't I say "UNLESS this is a normally taxpayer funded operation"?



And why should SAR not be a normally taxpayer funded operation?

If you're in another state, are you supposed to know whether SAR is taxpayer funded and to what extent it is taxpayer-funded, in that state or local jurisdiction?

Are you supposed to know in advance whether the National Guard helicopter that might fly looking for you can write that flight off as training? Or might they already have fulfilled their training requirement and so your rescue becomes a taxpayer burden?

Is the family supposed to know that?

Should they pick from a menu of SAR activity that they can afford? Go bankrupt to get some help? Should everyone have to buy SAR insurance? It's not just climbers and hikers who need SAR on occasion.


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#191050 - 12/16/09 07:17 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: Dagny]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1929
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Dagny
And why should SAR not be a normally taxpayer funded operation?


I never said it shouldn't. But if it's not, who will pay for it? The volunteers who did the actual SAR? I don't think volunteers would demand a salary, but there are a lot of equipment and other costs involved in a complex rescue.

If SAR is not taxpayer funded, for whatever reason, and there are no volunteers available to do it, would you suggest drafting people/resources against their will and force them to do SAR for free so that the victims wouldn't have to take any financial responsibility?

I don't like the ethics of making victims pay for their rescue. But I don't like the ethics of the alternative either. So, until SAR is fully taxpayer funded, universally, everywhere, what do you suggest?

p.s. - If you go on a trip, out of state or whatever, and drive off the road accidently ... ending up in the ER ... who do you think will get your bill?


Edited by haertig (12/16/09 07:27 PM)

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#191055 - 12/16/09 08:58 PM Re: Hikers Stranded on Mt. Hood [Re: haertig]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5994
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: haertig
Originally Posted By: Dagny
And why should SAR not be a normally taxpayer funded operation?


If SAR is not taxpayer funded, for whatever reason, and there are no volunteers available to do it, would you suggest drafting people/resources against their will and force them to do SAR for free so that the victims wouldn't have to take any financial responsibility?



The reality is that SAR is basically a volunteer operation and has been for more than fifty years. Most organizations charge their members dues and conduct fundraisers to allow what is clearly seen as a valuable public service. The public money involved is minuscule. Compare rescue costs with the price of maintaining one member of the armed forces abroad in either of our wars.

My former organization in Arizona just completed construction of a $750,000 station, all with donations. They have developed a highly competent volunteer membership, having served the community since 1959. Like most SAR groups, the majority of their victims have not been climbers or backpackers.
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Geezer in Chief

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