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View Full Version : Is there a # to call in case of emergency on mt washington?



tsuehr
02-06-2009, 05:50 PM
Assuming a cell phone works....

Rich
02-06-2009, 07:15 PM
Why would you not call 911, if you had service?

Brad
02-06-2009, 08:08 PM
I have heard that folks have called 911. Normally I do not have cell service when hiking up there. I would not count on it.

Bill O
02-06-2009, 08:12 PM
Seriously?

Gorque
02-06-2009, 08:30 PM
867-5309 has always been a reliable standby for me. :D

MsCntry
02-06-2009, 09:48 PM
Yes but they want help LOL :D

MelNino
02-07-2009, 07:50 AM
Ugh, its too early......took me a while to get the 867 joke :D

mtruman
02-07-2009, 09:13 AM
867-5309 has always been a reliable standby for me. :D

I never realized that Jenny was on a SAR team. Good to know.

Brad
02-07-2009, 09:24 AM
I can just see a 911 operator getting the call.

And where are you?

Don't know - I am lost in a white out and it is getting dark.

Stay put and I will get someone there in 48 hours to help you - if we can find you. And don't go to your left because there is a straight drop off into a ravine you just can not see till it is too late. We can not stay on the line because your batteries are about to go dead in the cold. You have had your one call. Have a nice night.

------
I know of a 911 call last winter where the people knew they were on the northern Presidentials and in deep trouble - was dark and getting very cold. The 911 operator gave them the cell number of a friend of mine - maybe he can help figure out where you are. He was able to and he was in the crew that rescued them. There is not much a 911 operator can do to help.

Knapper
02-07-2009, 11:41 AM
The best number to kick start a rescue is 911. They might not know the area or even what to do but they have a list of contacts to start calling that can then spider web out and get you the resources going to help you. 911 is how most of the rescues I have been a part of started. But that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- although cell service in and around the whites is improving, there are still many areas that get no service so just because you carry a phone doesn't mean you will be able to use it.
- Even if you get 911 and help on its way, remember that rescues take time. Just cause you call it in doesn't mean a snow cat, helicopter, or team will be there in minutes. It could be hours or days. SAR's aim for the "magic 24 hours" instead of the "magic hour" in the back country.
- know and stick to the trails you originally set out to do as much as possible and make note of trail junctions so you know that last place you passed prior to getting lost.
- hike with a buddy or more. If you get lost or injured, more people is helpful not only in getting you down but they can run up/down to get help either by phone where service is available or by reaching the aid of someone working at the top/bottom. Plus if you both have cells, that is twice the battery life and since cold drains battery life, the more the better.
- but most importantly, know when to turn around before getting yourself in a situation that requires 911. The state has passed reckless hiker laws and fines in this economic downturn are up to offset costs of some rescues. I have feelings for an against charging people but that is a seperate issue.

I am sure there are more points but these stick out for me. Out west, we used to say "Hike like a horse not an ass" meaning most horses will go where they feel it is safe to go, if not they buck you off. Mules on the flip side will go anywhere without thinking or become stubborn and won't move in the right direction no matter what you do.

KD Talbot
02-08-2009, 04:17 PM
and great advice, Knapper. Good post!

KDT

laudizen
02-14-2009, 01:29 AM
Call your mommy.

MsCntry
02-14-2009, 05:19 AM
Great post and great points Ryan!! Thank you for taking the time to post that!! Love the saying as well, it is sooo true :D but you know most men (not all men) most men are stubborn, and will not look at a map or ask for directions or even turn back to make sure they are on the right trail. This is why they made these laws up that you speak of. :D

Arthur Dent
03-04-2009, 10:01 AM
Ryan is correct about 911 being the number to call. The 911 operator will transfer any mountain rescue calls to NH Fish and Game who will be responsible for coordinating any SAR effort. Calling other numbers might cause a delay, although I can't get 867-5309 out of my head now!:D

smithtim
03-04-2009, 02:09 PM
The best number to kick start a rescue is 911. ......


- know and stick to the trails you originally set out to do as much as possible and make note of trail junctions so you know that last place you passed prior to getting lost..


Good point; also GPS is good to know as if you call up 911 and say " I'm within half a mile of the last GPS point I noted at x,y " that might just help... Here is what another member recorded and I plan to take them with me next week

http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?p=19644#post19644



Tim

b1029384756
03-04-2009, 10:22 PM
Don't most modern cellphones already transmit GPS data to 911 calls?

Knapper
03-05-2009, 07:23 AM
Good point; also GPS is good to know as if you call up 911 and say " I'm within half a mile of the last GPS point I noted at x,y " that might just help...

A GPS is a useful tool if the user knows how to use and read them correctly. The problem that we have heard from some people is they bought these $300 (more or less) devices thinking that it would help them in a jam but before heading up, they didn't even bother looking at them until on the trail. We had a person do this last summer; got lost then tried calling 911 with false GPS readings. This slowed the rescue down more than speeding it up. But the same can be said about using a compass and map. If the hiker has no clue which way is north or how to align with north or where they are on a map, then they are just as lost. And, it should be noted, as of now, the summit does not have GPS technology so if you are relying purely on GPS coordinates for help, you will have to wait for rescue from below and not above.


Don't most modern cellphones already transmit GPS data to 911 calls?

Yes and no. A lot of newer phones are building in GPS technology but in a SAR class I took, they say this is a false safety net most hikers have in mind. One, a lot of phones need you to activate this feature for an extra monthly charge. If you don't have it activated, it won't work. Two, you usually have to leave your phone on. This can be difficult because in the cold, it drains your batteries and a dead phone is bad because then there is no way of calling in or out. Three, while newer phones may have this technology, Americans are on a three to four year lag on cycling up to newer technology. This has to do with cellular contracts that have you keep phones for two years before upgrading and when most upgrade, they choose the cheaper models which don't have all the bells and whistles. And while I have heard that cell phones have been used to triangulate out west, none of the cases of rescues in the Whites involved triangulation that I know of. Not sure why.

smithtim
03-06-2009, 11:00 AM
Ryan, nice post especially the point about learning to use the GSP before heading out

Tim

mtruman
03-07-2009, 07:29 AM
A lot of newer phones are building in GPS technology but in a SAR class I took, they say this is a false safety net most hikers have in mind. One, a lot of phones need you to activate this feature for an extra monthly charge. If you don't have it activated, it won't work. Two, you usually have to leave your phone on. This can be difficult because in the cold, it drains your batteries and a dead phone is bad because then there is no way of calling in or out. Three, while newer phones may have this technology, Americans are on a three to four year lag on cycling up to newer technology. This has to do with cellular contracts that have you keep phones for two years before upgrading and when most upgrade, they choose the cheaper models which don't have all the bells and whistles. And while I have heard that cell phones have been used to triangulate out west, none of the cases of rescues in the Whites involved triangulation that I know of. Not sure why.

Since 2005 the FCC has mandated that all mobile carriers provide the capability to trace calls to within a location of 100 meters or less (for FCC E911). Based on this requirement virtually every cell phone that has been sold for the last few years includes GPS. The carriers can't charge for this service and in general it isn't possible to turn off the GPS on the phone for this purpose (the GPS is enabled when a 911 call is made and the location is transmitted automatically). The GPS option is to control whether the GPS chip is on all the time and available for use in other applications (mapping, navigation, etc which are the extra services that they generally charge for). Having the GPS on definitely does drain the battery and that's why most people leave it off for other than 911.

All that being said the E911 capability is only good if the phone 1) doesn't have a dead battery, 2) can get a signal to call 911 and 3) is able to pick up the GPS signal from the satellites. The phone is an extra potential safety net, but it is definitely bad to rely on it as the means of getting a hiker out of a jam. No substitute for good planning and knowlege.