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#291519 - 12/31/18 02:22 PM Forest Rescue
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6691
Loc: southern Cal
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/this-f...ater/ar-BBRBSra

As almost always, critical details are missing from the initial news account like "What items did they have with them in their vehicle and what measures did they take?"

The effort was complicated by the current Gov't stand down, to some extent, although that should not have been a truly critical factor.

To me, it is distressing that helicopter cost was apparently an issue. We were able to secure choppers routinely at no direct cost, from either the Air Force or the Arizona Highway Patrol. The AF crews participated enthusiastically, and the costs were charged to training. We made sure they were well trained.
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#291520 - 12/31/18 05:38 PM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2189
Loc: Great Plains
I'm glad they were found alive and relatively well!
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#291521 - 12/31/18 07:25 PM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1124
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: hikermor
To me, it is distressing that helicopter cost was apparently an issue. We were able to secure choppers routinely at no direct cost, from either the Air Force or the Arizona Highway Patrol. The AF crews participated enthusiastically, and the costs were charged to training. We made sure they were well trained.
Helicopter costs can be an issue, depending on the circumstances.

Here in Alaska, we have Air National Guard rescue squadrons available (PJs, Pavehawks, and Hercs). They do civil SAR as part of their training. However, their participation depends on certain parameters. Their first priority is military SAR, which sometimes makes them unavailable for civil SAR. Also, they can't compete with private industry, so they won't accept a medevac mission if a private company is available and willing to do the mission. And they don't do civilian body recovery missions.

The Alaska State Troopers have a couple of A-Star helos for SAR. But they do have a fixed yearly budget for SAR missions. I've never heard of them turning down a real life or death mission for budget considerations, but they might sometimes ask if there is some other way to do the mission. Or ask if the helo is really the most appropriate tool for a particular situation.

What occasionally happens is family and friends often want more assets than are available from the Air National Guard, or the Troopers. Or in some cases, after days of searching with no results the official search is called off, family/friends are not willing to give up. They will sometimes do a go fund me effort to hire a contract helo. I've even heard of instances where there were safety issues with private helos operating in the same air space with "official" aircraft, without proper coordination.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
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#291522 - 12/31/18 10:01 PM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6691
Loc: southern Cal
Private helos in the same air space without proper coordination sounds like a real tragedy about to happen. Helos are best used in a coordinated manner with ground troops, working not only in aerial location and spotting, but whisking ground pounders into remote locations for searching.

It is really wonderful to be deposited, early in the morning, in the midst of your operations area, and immediately get to productive work, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

I am basically reminiscing about an earlier era (70s to 80s) when situations were not as complicated as they can be today. Back then, there was essentially no competition with private firms.

Ground search is really important in SAR, but is even more effective when coordinated with good helo operations . Many lives have been saved because of swift helo transport to a distant ER.
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#291547 - 01/03/19 11:04 PM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: hikermor]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1074
Loc: Channeled Scablands
A simple Helo transport from roadside to hospital runs about $65,000 here. Even tho we have an Air Force Base in town, about the only time the government copters are allowed to be used anymore is if a hoist or similar gear is needed.

People go bankrupt here for a ride to the hospital.

You can get insurance from them for about $150 dollars a year for a family. When we lived far from town we got that insurance.

A friend who drives ambulance for them says the copters are sometimes used even if the medical transport is not an emergency, but may be for the doctor's timing. Kinda like c- sections I guess. He despises the Doctors that do that.

On the other hand, I once got a ride from the State Troopers chopper from the back side of a mountain search as I was the one who needed to get the "beer permit" for a SAR fund raising function as that was the last day for the paperwork to go thru. The missing person had been found and evacuated, we drew straws as to who got rides in the empty seats, but then we realized I needed to do the "beer run" if we wished to slake the thirst of a thousand sweaty cross country skiers.


Edited by clearwater (01/03/19 11:06 PM)

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#291548 - 01/04/19 12:44 AM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: hikermor]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3010
Loc: USA
My medical insurance picks up wheeled ambulance rides. I should find out if helicopters are covered, I'm guessing not.

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#291549 - 01/04/19 02:59 AM Re: Forest Rescue [Re: clearwater]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1124
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: clearwater
A simple Helo transport from roadside to hospital runs about $65,000 here. Even tho we have an Air Force Base in town, about the only time the government copters are allowed to be used anymore is if a hoist or similar gear is needed.
The Air National Guard rescue helos aren't allowed to compete with commercial medevac services. If a for profit medevac helo is willing/able to accept the mission, the ANG won't launch.

Some years back, a co-worker's son shattered his leg snow machining in an area a ways off the road. The local volunteer EMS squad reached him (on snow machines) and did initial care. The leg was really bad with multiple fractures. Hauling him out on a sled would have taken along time, and been very rough on the patient, so they opted to call for a medevac with LifeMed Alaska. It was some years ago, but as I recall my friend said it cost about $50,000. Insurance covered most of it, but my friends bill was still big!

Moral of the story: In Alaska try to get evacuated by the Air National Guard, the State Troopers, or the USCG. They don't charge! If you need a commercial medevac, you better have good insurance.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
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