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Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby sparky » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:26 pm

Trekking is something rich yuppies do in thier spare time. Traveling the mountains is a lifestyle. Big difference. I doubt you'll find any "trekkers" here.

Yeah im being a jerk....i know what you mean :-)
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby rlown » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:12 pm

AlmostThere wrote:County search teams DO NOT CHARGE. We never have and never will. We do not want people in serious trouble to hesitate to call and die as a result of not wanting to pay.

I appreciate the message you are trying to send, but you need to be factual. I do not know why you think search and rescue charges. We DO NOT.

The Park Service (as in national parks) will bill medical insurance for medical services rendered but again, YOU DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT INSURANCE OR CHARGES.

PERIOD.


If this is true, and I kind of believe you, why isn't that made clear on the county or NPS websites? If you only talk about the place you volunteer in, how does anyone know what happens in other jurisdictions?

EDIT: 8/26/12: I see you have lobbied your mgmt for new shirts. How about lobbying for great SAR documentation on either the county and NPS SAR sites?
Last edited by rlown on Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby sparky » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:09 pm

I read a report on supertopo of someone rapelling El Capitan, needing rescue, then handed a ticket from the NPS. Wonder if that is covered by this insurance
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:58 pm

rlown wrote:
If this is true, and I kind of believe you, why isn't that made clear on the county or NPS websites? If you only talk about the place you volunteer in, how does anyone know what happens in other jurisdictions?

EDIT: 8/26/12: I see you have lobbied your mgmt for new shirts. How about lobbying for great SAR documentation on either the county and NPS SAR sites?


If you look at other county websites, some of them do mention it - Malibu SAR does right there on the first paragraph. Some SAR teams do not have more than a paragraph on their sheriff's website. Our site is in its infancy - I'm not going to lobby for anything, they are doing what is planned on their own schedule and don't need the nagging. Shirts are a safety issue, websites are optional and nonessential to operations.

Most of the folks on my team would not have a clue that we need to mention it! Why would we have to? It would never occur to career SAR (it's a second UNPAID career) to even think about mentioning cost - we never charge, never have, never will, and not likely that any of the other volunteers even imagine that it would have to be said. We are too busy working so we can pay for our own gear and trainings.

That $8,000 was not for a helicopter ride. It was for medical treatment by EMS personnel. Otherwise it would have been a LOT more expensive! Helicopters used by SAR are funded by public agencies, which are funded by taxes, local or federal, and do not require reimbursement. Our medical evacs are usually done by a CHP chopper and sometimes by other volunteer choppers from the parks or Lemoore NAS - ours is not rigged for carrying a Stokes or any medical support whatsoever. We are all called once in a while to mutual aid SARs, in national parks and in other counties - my team has searched many times in SEKI and Yosemite - and so we have opportunities to talk to other teams, most of which are volunteer. Yosemite maintains technical rope guys to do big wall rescue - most ground pounders are volunteers from park staff, DNC and other areas of the park, and take time off from destruction of campfire rings or other park projects to search. Yosemite's water team has assisted on some of our water rescues. We all help each other out at ZERO cost to each other or the lost/hurt party.

We volunteers write off our costs for travel, trainings, gear, food, gas, or uniforms on our taxes! This is community service based activity as are most county search and rescue teams. My local team saves taxpayers on average more than 3 million dollars a year. In counties that are not fortunate enough to be able to build a volunteer based team, the sheriff's department must contract the work to someone (there are companies that do this). And I doubt they charge either - it's still tax money being spent to help tax payers.

And that is why I KNOW that county searchers here do not charge for rescue. Medical care is NOT the same. Different people, different service, different policy. My team does not have a lot of medical types volunteering for it. We have first aid trainings, and there are a couple of EMS volunteers, but if we do not have them with us, we have to call someone else in. Fortunately we excel in getting out there and finding people before they are medically compromised.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:17 pm

Let's be real clear. We appreciate you and your groups dedication to rescue. You come off as representing SAR on this site for some reason; go figure. If the documentation for the public isn't right, that's valuable input to your SAR mgmt. Let them know.

Not sure why we'd care about Malibu rescue..
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby dave54 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:48 pm

County sheriffs have the legal authority to bill. They rarely do unless it is a really expensive and difficult operation, and the rescuee did something really stupid to need a rescue. If they do bill it is more common to bill the county of residence of the person rescued. The second county nevers pays. Instead it is a notice that one their residents needed a rescue.

I believe the NPS has a emergency fund that they can tap to cover rescue costs, similar to the Forest Service firefighting fund. The Forest Service often assists the local county Sheriff Dept, and the FS cost is usually charged to the emergency firefighting fund -- technically illegal under federal fiscal and accounting rules, but accepted with a wink and nod by the federal bean counters. BLM is the same. By law, the FS and BLM have no legal obligation or authority to engage in rescues or medical aids on public lands, but do anyway on moral grounds and absorb the cost rather than bill the county that has the legal jurisdiction.

The local fire dept or EMS can and will bill for their services. The bill is for the cost of rolling their equipment, use of the gear, and ambulance transport. They are not billing for the SAR team or use of a CHP helicopter. If you are transferred to a private air ambulance the money meter starts spinning at warp speed. This is what the rider on my health insurance covers.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby justm » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:44 pm

First off, thank you to the rescue people, who risk your own lives to save people in the backcountry!!! But I have to believe there's a huge bill in there somewhere. Maybe the rescue part of it is free...but I bet you rescue people are required, reguardless of the situation, by law to notify medical personal to be met at the arrival point.Maybe thats where the bills start to happen. Just putting this out there, I'm not an expert.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:41 pm

justm wrote:First off, thank you to the rescue people, who risk your own lives to save people in the backcountry!!! But I have to believe there's a huge bill in there somewhere. Maybe the rescue part of it is free...but I bet you rescue people are required, reguardless of the situation, by law to notify medical personal to be met at the arrival point.Maybe thats where the bills start to happen. Just putting this out there, I'm not an expert.



I'd suggest you call your local SAR reps and put the question to them.

We don't do that unless there's someone injured.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:51 pm

rlown wrote:Let's be real clear. We appreciate you and your groups dedication to rescue. You come off as representing SAR on this site for some reason; go figure. If the documentation for the public isn't right, that's valuable input to your SAR mgmt. Let them know.

Not sure why we'd care about Malibu rescue..


Preventive SAR begins with information - I'm telling you how county search and rescue in California (where the Sierra Nevada is, go figure) works in a fairly basic way, because it appears that it is not clear and misinformation is being posted here that may lead to people hesitating to contact the authorities for help. Which may in turn lead to just what they are afraid of - a big bill, not for rescue, but for medical charges.

Malibu is one of the many examples of how county SAR teams work. You can google your own SAR team that's local to you and see similar verbage as on any county website. And Malibu is one of many teams that will come to the aid of any search team working in the Sierra - we've had guests from as far away as Humboldt.

Not all search teams have the time or ability to get a website going. You have to pay web geeks, after all. Relying on the sheriff's office web geeks gets a paragraph on the sheriff's website. We have a volunteer web geek who is overbooked and doing his best. He'll get to posting more information eventually.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby toejam » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:21 am

I just got back from a trip where bad judgement on my part resulted in two minor injuries to myself. In response I'm going to be more careful. I'm not buying a SPOT or insurance, and I don't want anybody looking for me until I'm late for work.

I pack my backpack with the intent of getting away from my modern, connected life and all it's worries. I don't worry when I'm out there - I try to use good judgement and enjoy my surroundings. I've never needed rescue and odds are greatly in my favor that I never will.

The way some people talk you'd think the mountains were covered with dead bodies. That's never been the case. I don't understand the fear mongers and worry warts. Kinda feel sorry for them.
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Re: Coping with injuries / sickness on the trail

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:15 am

Trent >>>"In reading some of these postings it's apparent that there are a number of "trekkers" who don't realize the serious consequences of an injury or sickness when you are miles from the trailhead in the back country."

US backpackers don't call themselves "trekkers". Its a general term of course that might be used in several ways. That is often used to describe tourist Himalayan foot travelers that employ various mountain travel guides and various internatioal travelers on the cheap.

It is true backpacking like all manner of outdoor sports has various levels of danger. And like all those sports, a person can choose their level of risk and exposure. For instance a climber can choose to be a front country bouldering enthusiast that rarely puts themselves in high lethal peril while a backcountry ice climber would be at the other extreme. With backpacking one can choose to make easy group trips to popular destinations where there are almost always other people or at the other extreme, go solo carrying heavy packs over class 3 steeps into remote locations no one is likely to be all summer. And some may choose to hike on generally level well manicured long distance super trails where everything has been smoothed out while others may choose to go early season solo lugging their gear across several remote stream crossings of ice cold snow melt torrents.

We all have to assess levels of risk in our lives and there will always be some fools and some who put the rest of us in danger. Every day driving during our major urban commute freeway traffic we see wreckless fools weaving inconsiderately and dangerously like some stock car racers. There is a significant list of outdoor enthusiasts who pushed extreme lethal limits in their sports, sometimes gaining considerable noteriety and practicing such for years without incident but then the one mistake or unpreventable loose rock breaking off ended it all. Such is life, man up to one's considered choices, and accept whatever results either triumph or disaster.

Most of we older conservative very experienced backpackers have learned how to be reasonably safe much like our countless exploring ancestors in ancient times did. Although some look for challenges pushing limits, many like this person seek enjoyable experiences. I confront dangers every summer and am aware a lightning bolt could strike, a rattlesnake could bite, talus might tumble down from above, and much more. And if that occurs I may end up no more or seriously injured in a remote place. If that happens I'll just have to crawl back to the front country or prepare for eternity.
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