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catbirdseat

$1000 Helicopter Rescue Fee Proposed

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The Snohomish County Council is considering billing lost hikers and others rescued by its helicopters up to $1,000, as well as other fee increases that would help sheriff's programs hamstrung by the beleaguered budget.

 

Herald Article

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Let's hope that instead they opt for the burglar alarm license fee instead. The County Council meeting is tomorrow night, I am told. People should go there and be heard.

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The fees could help add deputies to the force and help start a "meth strike team."

 

This doesn't sound like a way to recoup costs, but a way to raise cash for other things. wazzup.gif

 

That is pure BS. thumbs_down.gifmad.gif

 

This would in effect make rescues a profit center for the Sheriff's Dept. This could in turn raise other potential liability issues. A very dangerous path for the county. Some lawyer MIGHT get rich on this one. cantfocus.gif

Edited by Rodchester

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Those Sno-Co boys scare the sheet out of me. Was on a rescue once and they called in the chopper for an ankle injury on a trail. They're due to loose one out of the air someday soon.

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Rodchester said:

The fees could help add deputies to the force and help start a "meth strike team."

 

This doesn't sound like a way to recoup costs, but a way to raise cash for other things. wazzup.gif

 

That is pure BS. thumbs_down.gifmad.gif

 

This would in effect make rescues a profit center for the Sheriff's Dept. This could in turn raise other potential liability issues. A very dangerous path for the county. Some lawyer MIGHT get rich on this one. cantfocus.gif

 

yea...all those guys getting rich at the sheriff's dept! Give me a break. Those helis are expensive. I sure $1000 doesn't even cover their costs for one rescue. I think it encourages a little more responsibility. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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eternalX said:

Rodchester said:

The fees could help add deputies to the force and help start a "meth strike team."

 

This doesn't sound like a way to recoup costs, but a way to raise cash for other things. wazzup.gif

 

That is pure BS. thumbs_down.gifmad.gif

 

This would in effect make rescues a profit center for the Sheriff's Dept. This could in turn raise other potential liability issues. A very dangerous path for the county. Some lawyer MIGHT get rich on this one. cantfocus.gif

 

yea...all those guys getting rich at the sheriff's dept! Give me a break. Those helis are expensive. I sure $1000 doesn't even cover their costs for one rescue. I think it encourages a little more responsibility. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

You missed the point. A governmental entity is USUALLY immune from suit, unless it is conducting a business.

 

If it is disclosed, as they did here, that the intent is to raise cash for other services (not cover costs) then a solid argument could be made that they are in the rescue business...and their immunity could be lost. blush.gif This could open them up to suits that might otherwise be barred due to their immunity. blush.gif

 

I did not say anything about cops making money off of it. wazzup.gif I said it could be viewed as a profit center. If it generates profits (i.e. funds to be spent on other things) this could create a situation of liability.

 

Sorry if you thought I meant profits as in barney Fife gets to take home money.

 

wave.gif

 

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It's unfortunate that this sort of thing is being proposed.

 

There are obviously many circumstances that a helo is not needed for a rescue and there will undoubtedly be times when it's going to be called and not needed.

 

The blanket effect of the fee is pretty shitty for someone that has a real life situation problem and really does need the helo. I can imagine hospital bills trauma and then rescue fee.

 

I also agree with eliminating this based on ChesterMolester's remarks... They are valid points. Otherwise I want to pay a fee for which company is coming to rescue me fruit.gif based on competence, speed, experience and equipment at hand.

 

 

Also I recommend reading the article "The fees could help add deputies to the force and help start a "meth strike team."

Edited by Cpt.Caveman

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With their new strike team, they'll probably need helo assitance anyway and rescues in the mountains should substitute for training as it does for military units.

 

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$500 seems more appropriate. $1000 seems too steep to me--especially given that this is really a scheme to generate more revenue so they can create a meth strike team and hire more officers (things which have nothing to do with the source of the funds: helicopter rescuees).

 

But then, reading the article, it kind of hints that the alarm system fee would be where the money would come from for the meth strike teams. So, who knows.

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The problem with charging a fee for rescue is that people will be very hesitant to call a rescue for fear of the cost. They may try to self rescue instead and end up dying.

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Also, the cost would be put on the rescued person even if they did not feel a helicopter rescue was necessary. Once a call is placed to the dept the wheels could be set in motion for a $1000 rescue bill and the person may have only had a sprained ankle.

 

I recall a rescue situation last year on Glacier Peak, where a call was placed so that a rescue would NOT be initiated by the party's families when they didn't show up. Didn't matter. The call started the rescue. I think that 50 or more people were involved and a helicopter used.

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If this goes through, what's next? A 1,000 dolllar fee if you need Medic One?

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But, it certainly sucks to have to foot the bill for the county to rescue some dumbass cause they had no idea what they were doing and got hurt, lost, scared, panicked etc.

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Yeah ok. However, when you make a conscious decision to do something, you should be held accountable. If you have no experience in something like climbing or boating etc and you decide to undertake a hazardous adventure, it would be great if those people had to reimburse those who risk life and money to save their sorry asses.

 

That said, however, there is no fair way to decide if someone was acting stupidly or not. So, there can never be a way to bill them for a rescue, as much as I would like to see it done. (And by the way here, I don't want to see climbers getting billed for taking risks and tackling on a tough project etc. I'm talking about the guy in a t shirt and shorts who decides he will hike up to Colchuck at 4 in the afternoon in October to see the fall colors. Of course, he doesn't bring any water or warm clothes cause he won't be out long.)

 

Actually, I would be great if there was some test for stupidness and if you are too dumb, you get sent to Siberia or Iraq or something.... cantfocus.gif

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wonder if my antics last year helped in their decision making? they only used 2 choppers (and 2 media choppers) for being less than a day overdue. thats pretty reasonable. grin.gif

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There's some stuff that can be charged that is easy. The fire department that I was with for a while never charged for emergency calls but the bill was hefty for stupid shit (we were always called to put out slash pile burns in the summer started without a permit. It costs plenty to roll two engines and a tanker). The same with boating I havn't seen any recent reports but the coasties always rescue boaters in need. If you went outside the bar and ran out of gas, you best belive it costs plenty to send out that cutter.

 

I'm sure a cost for bullshit calls would save hassles. I don't know who should determine when it costs. I think now the coasties only come out for life threatning stuff, if your not in dire trouble they send you off to find a private salvage guy. Doesn't quite apply here but it could be a direction to go.

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danielpatricksmith said:

If this goes through, what's next? A 1,000 dolllar fee if you need Medic One?

 

It's a thousand bucks for the meat wagon to show up already....

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eternalX said:

yea...all those guys getting rich at the sheriff's dept! Give me a break. Those helis are expensive. I sure $1000 doesn't even cover their costs for one rescue. I think it encourages a little more responsibility. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

Point number one. How expensive is it really? Some of you with helicopter approach experience (MattP, Caveman, Dru, AlpineK, others..?) what's a typical bill?

 

Point number two: "encouraging a little more responsibility" is a totally ridiculous statement if you think about it for about 20 seconds. I'm sure that getting hurt, breaking bones, getting lost, DYING, are not adequately discouraging, but add a 1000$ bill to it and that would be enough to tip the balance? rolleyes.gif Noone consciously sets out with the helo in their backup plan.

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What's next...a fee for rolling a fire truck and rescueing a people out of a burning structure. I don't see a substantial difference.

 

How about a fee to get the cops to respond to an emergency 911 call. It makes the affluent better able to afford public services. You don't really want to spend tax resources on the slums or the poor or on dirt bag climbers...they don't pay their share anyway. rolleyes.gifwazzup.gif

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