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Yuppie 911

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Yuppie 911

Postby gary c. » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:27 pm

Like the GPS thread this is another example of tools not being the problem but the idiots that use them. I think that there should be at least a $1000 fee everytime someone hits the emergency button. In a real life threatening emergency you wouldn't think twice about the cost but it might discourage the morons who just need a drink of water or for someone to hold there hand.
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20091 ... _yuppie911
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby rlown » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:08 pm

i think this is a permitting problem as well. The NPS and wilderness entry stations should be able to refuse "service" to those they think might be at risk (agreed, self-registration would be a problem). Most of the questions i get asked when checking in are about where to camp, where to poop, how to do it, and how to pack out my TP. Granted, I've seen day hiker tourists 4 miles into a trail in flip-flops, wondering to myself, how did you end up here and can you get out? They didn't have a SPOT or a map/GPS or a clue.

Part of this can be avoided by better vetting of those entering the wilderness at the trailhead.

Still, you press a button, you should be charged (i think they charge bigtime for that anyway). And if you press a button once, you should be escorted out at your expense. Twice? dunno if i'd answer that call or let that happen in the first place.
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby hikerduane » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:36 pm

They can't screen out the nits that leave trash, tp, dig trenches, how are they going to screen the folks with no skills or proper gear, experience? We all get the tp, sanitation lecture each time we get our permits, it would take too much time to quiz unskilled/unknowledgable people. Some may be comfortable in the backcountry, others may loose it when confronted with what they perceive as an emergency. We all hear the 911 stories in the news. Folks can deal with the assault or murder in the city, but put them in the wilderness and they worry more about the bear or lion attack.
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby markskor » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:21 am

I feel a rant coming on...
Agreed that a blanket fee for any (needed) rescue is a bad idea...slippery slope leading to disaster.
I do think that you should have to sign some sort of waver when picking up your permit to the effect that if a rescue is initiated/ button pushed and not actually needed for some obvious bogus reason, then you should then pay the piper. This might make some think twice before taking the easy way out. Who would make this decision as to who pays is still up in the air, but when the line is so far out of kilter...when some rube just hits the button because they are thirsty, then it is obviously a major drain on the system - the guilty party should then pick up the rescue tab for being a damn fool.

Perhaps some sort of one-time, wilderness "experienced" card could be issued, let's say for a fee of $25 - $50...your picture on it, saying you have completed/documented some wilderness course or have heard the lecture a hundred times might work. Or maybe some threshold of 25 permits obtained in your name previously might help in alleviating the same old permit lecture having to be given each time. Then when one of these registered card holders (old-timers) hits the button, SAR would know that something is really amiss and help is needed. That is not to say that real accidents can and do happen to anyone, but I would listen to a real proven hiker before any newbie rank amateur.

There has to be a better way of discerning who knows what is going on in the backcountry and who doesn't - before picking up a permit. Those who venture out repeatedly should be treated better/ given some greater respect than those who are so green that they are an accident waiting to happen. Putting this decision in our hands...being proactive/ spending a few bucks proving we have been there many times before is better than having some fuzzy-butt permit ranger (who doesn't know jack), have to make the same speach over and over.

I apologize to any ranger I may have offended here...much respect for those who do the job but, when you show up for a permit and the 20-year-old, behind the counter, is clueless...
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby hikerduane » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:08 am

We already sign off on the fact that we have read or been instructed on the leave no trace/so many paces from water to camp/nature call, should be another speech on if you have a plb or one of those things, that if the authorities do not find you are in a dire emergency that they will charge you for the response, then go over what they consider an emergency response and give examples of both, but may not be inclusive or cover all examples. At some point, maybe we will be required to get insurance to cover such a thing, with the vendor on premises or purchased online like you would when making reservations at campgrounds.????
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby markskor » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:09 am

I hear what you are saying HikerD...
Just to continue...
The fact that there is only one-way communication on the PLB's should also accept part of the blame. I strongly feel that this type device, at this point, even though a great idea in theory, is not yet ready for mass marketing, especially in a heavy use area like our Sierra.
Until they include some way to communicate back to the button pusher, some way to discern the exact nature of the problem, or if an emergency rescue is actually needed, then the maker of the SPOT device, (whether or not the rescue is proved necessary), should also shoulder part of the responsibility/cost of the rescue. As it stands today, it is an enabler… an easy crutch…Get a blister/get lost; push a button.
Adding…My wife “purse calls” me all the time – buttons get pushed by mistake all too frequently – there has to be a better solution.
I hear that the second generation of PLB will include some “verification” – much needed. I also hear that there will be some way to communicate back to the user (much like texting today) also to be included in future devices. Perhaps an insurance package should be required in the purchase price. Perhaps add a $100 fee just for pushing the button.
Whatever the eventual outcome, I grow tired of all the all-too-frequent stories of unnecessary expenditure of SAR manpower for some ridiculous rescue scenario.
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:55 pm

markskor wrote: Perhaps an insurance package should be required in the purchase price.

I think that is the best solution until the technology changes. Actually, when I bought my SPOT, they recommended (and I purchased) the insurance. I don't remember how much it cost, but I thought it was reasonable. Thankfully, I never had to use it.

Edit...on the other hand, if someone has the insurance, maybe they would be more prone to push the button unnecessarily, thus putting a strain on SAR personnel. So maybe required insurance wouldn't work so well.
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:42 pm

I like Markskor's suggestion of a fee if you push the button. I know if I ever actually have to, $100 or $200 won't mean anything compared to death. But maybe it will discourage the "amateurs" though a higher fee might be needed like $500 since for some people $100 doesn't mean that much these days. Also, those who raise false alarms should be put on a national database of "people who don't know what they're doing" so the next time they get a permit the ranger sees the name on the list and gives them an extra long pointed lecture.

I've noticed in the past few years that when I pick up a permit most of the time the ranger does a rather quick run through of the rap. A couple of times I've had ranger just have me initial the list without the rap. He or she seems to be able to suss out those who know what they're doing from those who don't.
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby oldranger » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:09 am

Mark

I find that if I ask a couple of intelligent questions (yeah I know one or two) and maybe mention your name the permit issuers don't go through all the rigamarole! Treat the kids at the permit stations with a little respect and they are pretty cool and remind me of myself 40 years ago!

For the type of 911 problem children we are talking about insurance would be the equivalent of giving them a license to push the button!

Cheers

Mike
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby BSquared » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:17 pm

As a recent (and temporarily temporary ;)) Vermonter, I just learned that New Hampshire is virtually the only state that explicitly and in fact charges for backcountry rescues. As I understand it, they backcharge the full SAR fee to the victim. I haven't had a chance to do any more research on this, but it would sure be interesting to know if, for example, New Hampshire had fewer rescues per visitor than Vermont, or perhaps than similar regions in New York. Anybody on this board know of such data?
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby rlown » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:05 pm

markskor wrote:I hear what you are saying HikerD...
Just to continue...
The fact that there is only one-way communication on the PLB's should also accept part of the blame. I strongly feel that this type device, at this point, even though a great idea in theory, is not yet ready for mass marketing, especially in a heavy use area like our Sierra.
Until they include some way to communicate back to the button pusher, some way to discern the exact nature of the problem, or if an emergency rescue is actually needed, then the maker of the SPOT device, (whether or not the rescue is proved necessary), should also shoulder part of the responsibility/cost of the rescue. As it stands today, it is an enabler… an easy crutch…Get a blister/get lost; push a button.
Adding…My wife “purse calls” me all the time – buttons get pushed by mistake all too frequently – there has to be a better solution.
I hear that the second generation of PLB will include some “verification” – much needed. I also hear that there will be some way to communicate back to the user (much like texting today) also to be included in future devices. Perhaps an insurance package should be required in the purchase price. Perhaps add a $100 fee just for pushing the button.
Whatever the eventual outcome, I grow tired of all the all-too-frequent stories of unnecessary expenditure of SAR manpower for some ridiculous rescue scenario.


two-way communication is basically a satellite phone. I say if you press the button, you pay. Insurance is a nice solution.. And if you don't buy it, you still pay..
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Re: Yuppie 911

Postby markskor » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:34 pm

"I find that if I ask a couple of intelligent questions (yeah I know one or two) and maybe mention your name the permit issuers don't go through all the rigamarole! Treat the kids at the permit stations with a little respect and they are pretty cool and remind me of myself 60 years ago!"

Always the best ploy....when all else fails, try respect first! (Sometimes Mike, it is hard to pull this off with straight face.) I once asked for a permit to Harriet Lakes and they didn't know where it was until I showed them on their map.

The mere mention of my name though, will invariably throw up a red flag...probably never get a permit. I do find in Yosemite, when picking up a permit, that all my past permits come up on a screen and I never get the "lecture" anymore ...I guess they do know , or can read and put 2 and 2 together...Kudos to their system!

Interesting question from B² though about efectiveness of the SPOT. All we hear are the horror stories of those calling for Bogus rescues. I know saving one life makes it worthwhile, but... I wonder how many actual needed rescues (statistics?) have been made using the SPOT compared to all total rescues here in our Sierra.

Or...is SPOT even an effective tool, or is it something of a high-tech toy, serving merely to give wives at home, peace of mind?
Mountainman who swims with trout
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