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#242062 - 02/29/12 05:28 AM Multiple hikers rescued using 911
Meadowlark Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 154
Loc: Northern Colorado
Story here:

http://www.independent.com/news/2012/feb/28/multiple-hikers-rescued-near-cathedral-peak/

It's amazing how many people get decent cell phone reception in the mountains. Most places I go hiking, I can barely get a bar, if anything at all (and that includes our house, which is in some sort of dead zone.) Then again, my phone is six years old.

That said, even with a newfangled iGadget I still would prefer relying on a PLB or Spot...
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And as I go, I love to sing,
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#242069 - 02/29/12 06:14 AM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2751
Loc: Alberta, Canada
No doubt cell phone access makes things easier for SAR in some situations. Public safety comes first, and an early call can keep a minor incident from becoming a serious situation. Also, a 911 operator will glean a lot more information from a cell call than a PLB (though as noted, the quality of information may need checking).

But (as we've already debated at length) the worry is that it can encourage people to rely on it first, rather than last. A person valet and transportation service. All sorts of factors can delay SAR. If you know, for example, that you're entirely on your own for 48-72 hours, with no outside help possible, your planning takes a distinct turn.

Then there are nuisance calls, which 911 operators surely know too well. I have no hard data, but I suspect that cell service also increases the number of "we're out of twinkies, can you helicopter in a pizza" calls.

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#242077 - 02/29/12 11:25 AM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: dougwalkabout]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6941
Loc: southern Cal
Those two incidents were right next door to me, so to speak, and they occurred in locations that are just barely off the road network, essentially day hiking country. Hardly an example of back country.

Cell phones, despite their quirks, are indeed changing SAR. Notification of an emergency occurs directly from the concerned party, rather than from someone in town who only knows that they are overdue. This leads to quicker response times and cleaner operations by taking the "search out of SAR." There have even been instances of people who were lost who transmitted a picture of their surroundings to the searchers, and of course, usually their position can be determined by cell tower triangulation.

As coverage gets better and technology evolves, cell phones will become more and more useful. The ability for two way communication should help repress the always present problem of trivial calls.
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#242082 - 02/29/12 02:09 PM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 857
Loc: Colorado
I regularly hear county dispatch advising SAR that the caller's location is 100 or 300 yds from a road and that they've told the caller which direction to go to reach it.

How did Jermiah Johnson EVER survive?????

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#242087 - 02/29/12 03:40 PM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
TimDex Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 06/13/10
Posts: 56
Loc: New York State
Here's a similar rescue story that happened on the other coast (Adirondack Mtns. in New York).

http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/hc-ap-ny-forest-rangers-rescue-3-men-from-high-peaks-20120227,0,4641957,print.story

(Can't get the link format to work so you'll have to paste it in.)

Notable: Using snow caves to get back through a bad night.

Not so notable: Idiots in over their heads, using 911 to get out.

Question: Before 911 and cellphones, would as many people have taken these chances.


Tim (cranky before his second cup in the a.m.)

Tim, I'm cranky before caffeine too, but let's confine our remarks to a more constructive format if at all possible.

HJ
Moderator



Edited by Hikin_Jim (03/02/12 12:14 AM)
Edit Reason: Add moderator's remarks

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#242101 - 02/29/12 08:19 PM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
interestingly enough, the lake that I normally train around, approx. 15 miles from nearest town and deep into a national forest, now has cell reception around the lake. Thank goodness too, as there was no public land line there either. it has given my wife an additional level of security. And will certainly aid the SAR & EMS people that have to spend time out there.
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#242148 - 03/01/12 05:22 AM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
ireckon Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
My cell phone is an old Treo 700 with Sprint. I get near perfect reception at the peak of Heavenly Ski Resort. I will not be moving from Sprint without a compelling reason.
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#242151 - 03/01/12 07:10 AM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2751
Loc: Alberta, Canada
FWIW, a bunch of my favourite dayhikes (and out of the way campgrounds) in Jasper National Park have grown cell coverage in the last decade. On balance, this is probably a good thing.

However, I have recently been dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. So, after holding faithfully to my candy bar Nokias (which are astonishingly good at pulling in a signal) I will be testing my Samsung Galaxy Ace in places I know a decent signal is present. This is, of course, based on the assumption that I am holding a phone that is designed to make phone calls. We'll see, and then we'll know. I've seen some slug-brained smartphones over the years. (And the Nokia isn't dead, only slumbering, in the glovebox with a car charger, just in case.)


Edited by dougwalkabout (03/01/12 07:11 AM)

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#242177 - 03/01/12 05:57 PM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: Meadowlark]
BruceZed Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 308
Loc: Canada
A lot of it is Geographic, in the Alberta Rockies, cell coverage is best higher up and on the eastern slopes, where it is often non existent away form settlements on the western slopes and at lower elevations.
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Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute
boreal.net

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#242209 - 03/01/12 10:46 PM Re: Multiple hikers rescued using 911 [Re: TimDex]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1390
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Originally Posted By: TimDex

Not so notable: Idiots in over their heads, using 911 to get out.

Question: Before 911 and cellphones, would as many people have taken these chances.


It is unwarranted remarks like this that compels me to mostly stay away from this forum nowadays. Blindly ridiculing others in this manner without having the complete and researched facts fully in place first, only serves to undermine all the good effort that people here put into making this forum, usually a good place to discuss and learn.

Back to the topic...

For hundreds of years, people have been getting themselves into trouble long before any technology came around. In today's world of being fully connected to globally available news stories, 24 hours a day, it is easy to surmise and perhaps suggest that people are taking chances more.

That said, yes people are perhaps too quick to call for help when they are not fully experienced or equipped. However, if cell phones, PLB's and other technologies makes it 10x safer and quicker for SAR to rescue them, then technology is more then worth it. I would much rather know that the SAR team was able to quickly pinpoint the person(s) position and effect a short rescue then to have the SAR team putting themselves in more harm's way for days at a time where the rescue inevitably turns into a body recovery mission...
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

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