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View Full Version : Who pays for rescues in WA State?



Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 12:02 PM
On the news last night (Portland, OR) they mentioned that to date, the rescue efforts on Mount Hood have exceeded $100,000 and, per OR law, the families may not be billed. It got me wondering about what the law is in Washington. Can anyone answer that for me? (I'm just curious because I live in WA state and have never given this any thought. I am not a climber, BTW). Thanks much. :)

bruno
12-20-2006, 12:10 PM
even if'n they bill ya, how they gonna make ya pay? huh? it ain't like repoin' yer car. what're they gonna do? put ya back on the mountain?:confused: :eek: :rolleyes: :) ;)

Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 12:13 PM
Thanks for your reply. What I want to know, however, is what the law actually states. ;)

Bill O
12-20-2006, 12:17 PM
I have no idea, but I am almost certain the tax payers pay for the rescue. As is the case in the rest of the United States.

Part of living in an incredibly wealthy and compassionate country is the responsibility of caring for any person in need. Whether its a lost hiker, hunter or mushroom picker to a family trapped in a burning house or the people who chose not to evacuate New Orleans.

Many other countries have a different policy. Sometimes a rescue does not even begin until funds are secured.

As far as the Mount Hood rescue how did they break down those costs? As far as I am concerned the cost has been nothing. Many rescuers are volunteers. Those who are not are on fixed salaries or are in the military. Much of the air support was military so they have fixed costs. The only variable is the fuel costs, but this is easily offset by quality training time gained.

Bill O
12-20-2006, 12:19 PM
even if'n they bill ya, how they gonna make ya pay? huh? it ain't like repoin' yer car. what're they gonna do? put ya back on the mountain?:confused: :eek: :rolleyes: :) ;)

Which is the case in NH. Negligent hikers have been forced to pay for rescue. At least that is the theory. I highly doubt that anybody has ever paid. Or if the state has a legal right to charge them.

bruno
12-20-2006, 12:19 PM
Many other countries have a different policy. Sometimes a rescue does not even begin until funds are secured.



whoa!!:eek: that would majorly suck. what countries do that?:confused:

Bill O
12-20-2006, 12:23 PM
whoa!! that would majorly suck. what countries do that?:confused:

Certainly, Nepal and other very poor countries. But I have heard of this in Europe. Many climbers there carry their own personal rescue insurance. I'm guessing that when you call in a rescue you have to include your policy number :)

bruno
12-20-2006, 12:29 PM
Certainly, Nepal and other very poor countries. But I have heard of this in Europe. Many climbers there carry their own personal rescue insurance. I'm guessing that when you call in a rescue you have to include your policy number :)

again whoa! so if ya call in and ya don't happen to have yer insurance handy or most likely ya don't have any, they say "tough luck, pal, die"?

but this whole discussion begs the question which opens up a whole other can o' worms which is the ethics of carryin' phones and radios and beacon and such truck into da backcountry in da first place! me, i'm against it. our grandpappies didn't. i think it makes us less, well i'll say it--men. that's my honest opinion. i think all these devices take away from the adventure.

allright, let's throwdown!!:)

Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 12:37 PM
Gee, I didn't intend to veer down this path but since you brought it up, I have to wonder that for each person who gets lost, I would suspect that then wish they had a tracking device. Maybe they are purists initially, but having a device when the worst happens would be welcomed I would think. It sure would for me were I caught in that awful situation.

As mentioned, I'm not a climber so I sure can't speak for you experts but it's just my humble opinion. :D

Gorque
12-20-2006, 12:41 PM
again whoa! so if ya call in and ya don't happen to have yer insurance handy or most likely ya don't have any, they say "tough luck, pal, die"?

but this whole discussion begs the question which opens up a whole other can o' worms which is the ethics of carryin' phones and radios and beacon and such truck into da backcountry in da first place! me, i'm against it. our grandpappies didn't. i think it makes us less, well i'll say it--men. that's my honest opinion. i think all these devices take away from the adventure.

allright, let's throwdown!!:)

And our greandpappies didn't converse to one another via PC's or check on the forecoming 3 day weather forecasts from NOAA either. ;)

Bill O
12-20-2006, 12:43 PM
Here is some Washington state rescue information. Not sure it answers your initial question though:

Washington Rescue Laws (http://emd.wa.gov/6-mrr/resp/sar/sar-idx.htm)

On the off-topic part of this thread: I consider my life far to valuable to throw it away for something like a sprained ankle in the backcountry.

Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 02:44 PM
Thanks, Bill. Very interesting info. It doesn't address my question totally, but it does provide a link to contact someone so I did! If I hear back, I'll post their reply. :)

Bill O
12-20-2006, 02:49 PM
I heard Rosie O'Donnell was making some brilliant comments this morning about the costs. Thankfully, the experts fired back and pretty much summed up exactly what I said earlier in this thread:


"I just want to reach out and grab her neck," he said. "I mean, literally. This is not stupid money. This is important money. This is about people's lives."

At $6,500 a day, many may question the cost of the elaborate rescue effort, but Wampler said the bill is misleading. His crews would be working anyway and 90 percent of the rescuers are volunteers. It is not even costing the military extra money because the mission is being tagged as training.

"We can either spend our time in a simulator or a simulated environment or we can get the best experience in a real world situation like this," said Capt. Mike Braibish with the Oregon National Guard.

Another thing. The financial benefits of climbers coming to OR or WA far outweighs the cost of any rescue.

rockin rex
12-20-2006, 03:01 PM
again whoa! so if ya call in and ya don't happen to have yer insurance handy or most likely ya don't have any, they say "tough luck, pal, die"?

but this whole discussion begs the question which opens up a whole other can o' worms which is the ethics of carryin' phones and radios and beacon and such truck into da backcountry in da first place! me, i'm against it. our grandpappies didn't. i think it makes us less, well i'll say it--men. that's my honest opinion. i think all these devices take away from the adventure.

allright, let's throwdown!!:)
Bruno and I on the same page on this (see my previous post on other threads) no electronic gear in my backpack. A compass and a map.

Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 03:11 PM
I live just over the bridge from Portland in WA state. The Portland noon news just reported that they have called off the search. The weather is nasty again today. They said they "may" make one more attempt to look later in the week but more than likely, they report it will now become a recovery mission in the spring.

Ineedsun
12-20-2006, 05:42 PM
Thanks, Bill. Very interesting info. It doesn't address my question totally, but it does provide a link to contact someone so I did! If I hear back, I'll post their reply. :)

If anyone is interested, I got the following reply to my inquiry:

Thank you for your email regarding the cost of rescue operations. Here
in Washington, state law assigns responsibility for search and rescue to
the chief law enforcement officer of each jurisdiction. As with other
law enforcement services, there is no direct billing to the victims or
their families.

The cost of search and rescue operations in State of Washington is
actually quite low due to one key factor: volunteers. Search and rescue
units are volunteer organizations made up of your fellow citizens who
have chosen to serve their communities.

There are, of course, some costs associated with this. Depending upon
jurisdiction, the on-scene commander is usually a deputy sheriff or in
the case of Mt. Rainer and Olympic National Parks, a park ranger. As
noted above, these costs come out of the jurisdictions law enforcement
budget. The state does provide some limited support for volunteers in
the form of reimbursement for medical expenses resulting from injury or
for lost or damaged personal property. The single greatest expenditure
for a search and rescue incident would be the training for and conduct
of field operations if that were not done by our volunteers at no cost.

The U. S. military does assist us in some search and rescue operations
when requested and when it does not interfere with their military
duties. In general, this is done using funds already allocated to them
for training. Military air crews I have spoken with over the years
value highly the experience gained from flying actual search and rescue
missions. This is especially true of those whose military mission
involves search and rescue such as the Navy unit at Whidbey Island Naval
Air Station.

It may also be helpful to note here that, although they receive much
media attention, search and rescue operations in the mountains
constitute a very small fraction of the approximately 700 search and
rescue missions conducted in the state each year. By far, most missions
involve ordinary citizens who find themselves in distress either in the
outdoors, or increasingly, in or near their own communities.

I hope the above information has been useful.

Charlie
12-20-2006, 06:02 PM
I have no idea, but I am almost certain the tax payers pay for the rescue. As is the case in the rest of the United States.

Part of living in an incredibly wealthy and compassionate country is the responsibility of caring for any person in need. Whether its a lost hiker, hunter or mushroom picker to a family trapped in a burning house or the people who chose not to evacuate New Orleans.

As far as the Mount Hood rescue how did they break down those costs? As far as I am concerned the cost has been nothing. Many rescuers are volunteers. Those who are not are on fixed salaries or are in the military. Much of the air support was military so they have fixed costs. The only variable is the fuel costs, but this is easily offset by quality training time gained.

like i said in another thread that I'm a volunteer sar team and if i leave work i DO NOT get paid and that is the way it is for most that volunteer .
i even have a bloodhound that is mine and i pay for everything .
as far as supplies as in the hood search a lot was most likely donated .

in the US there are a lot of people that help because it feels good to help and not look for pay .