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Doug

Volunteer SAR Tax

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All, there was a bill introduced to the Washington Legislature last week (HB1214) that proposed adding a twenty five cent surcharge to all "Sportsman's" licenses (fishing, hunting, etc). That money would fund an account that would be used to reimburse volunteer SAR Organizations for expenses while on a SAR mission. Further, it allowed the SAR volunteer organizations a method to go after the subject for additional renumeration of up to $500.00, providing lack of reasonable care on the part of the subject led to the rescue.

 

The bill went to committee this past Tuesday. and was basically killed, but one of the sponsoring legislators (Goodman, Woodinville) wants to continue dialogue and perhaps resurrect it later. I think it would be wise for communities such as this to be aware of these types of legislation and get involved of the process to ensure that bad legislation doesn't get through and that the proper things go into it to make it good. Here is a linky the proposed bill. Please take the time to find your state legislators and let them know how you feel about this.

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I'd worry about a tax like this giving more fodder to folks who complain that "taxpayer money shouldn't go to rescue idiot climbers."

 

I think most informed people know that very little taxpayer money goes into SAR missions. The exception is military helicopters used in SAR, but there they use it as a training opportunity, making it hard to say it's an additional expense to taxpayers.

 

As a Mountain Rescue volunteer, I've never seen any lack of funding for gear. Not sure how other units are funded, but we (Bellingham Mountain Rescue) get the bulk of our funding from the United Way and private donations.

 

As to the idea of being able to charge someone who recklessly necessitate a rescue, a case could be made for that. I doubt you need to levy a new tax for that, however.

 

 

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I was recently rescued by SAR. I was most thankful. I asked them "how much it was going to cost me" so that i could prepare for the finances. I don't think I got a straight answer, in fact I think it was nothing.

 

Either way, I'm most thankful and would consider volunteering myself to repay costs or send a fat ham to everyone for thanksgiving.

 

How would I get the names of the people who helped me.

 

Jon Stewart

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I doubt you'd get the names of the individual rescuers, but the sheriff's office that coordinated the rescue should be able to tell you what units were involved. You could then make a donation to those units and possibly try to get the individuals' names from those units directly.

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I remember paying a fee in Colorado that would cover my rescue helicopter if I needed to be evac'd from the backcountry. I think tt was like $30 for a year or two, and I was quite happy to pay it.

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I'm not sure the SAR people carry morphine, but who ever it was that was carring would gets a ham and a turkey for thanksgiving if I can find out who it was. I think he was a paramedic.

 

Lots of agencies working together.

 

 

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I was recently rescued by SAR. I was most thankful. I asked them "how much it was going to cost me" so that i could prepare for the finances. I don't think I got a straight answer, in fact I think it was nothing.

 

Either way, I'm most thankful and would consider volunteering myself to repay costs or send a fat ham to everyone for thanksgiving.

 

How would I get the names of the people who helped me.

 

Jon Stewart

 

Yeah, I think alot of people don't realize that most of the rescues around here are free. If it's a mountain rescue group, they're volunteers, and often get funding through united way. If it's a military helicopter, they chalk it up to training, and are happy to get out on a real mission.

 

If you want to get in touch with the rescuers, contact the mountain rescue group or the sheriff in the county where the rescue happened. We get cards/notes/donations/6 packs from people we've helped regularly, and it's certainly appreciated.

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Stewart-

What mkporwit and woodchips said. The best way is to contact the County Sheriff, find out what units were involved, and contact the units directly to locate your "benefactor". Most units will just tell you all of the people involved from their unit. It will be up to you to find the individual you're looking for. A donation to the unit is most appreciated, as singling out an individual could be embarassing for that volunteer...

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