Nov 18, 2013 at 7:51 am #1309951
I need your help.
I'm working on a BPL article about rescue insurance for backpackers.
If we know how much rescues might cost, we can make better decisions about buying insurance.
Every situation and locality has different rescue costs, and different policies for recovering rescue costs.
If you have good, direct knowledge of rescue costs and cost recovery policies, please tell me more.
What locality (e.g. park, county, state, country)?
What costs are billed to the person rescued?
How much does each part of a rescue cost?
Rescue costs might include any of the following services:
– On-site assistance (e.g. extraction from difficult situations, first aid)
– Moving you to "front country", including first aid and transportation (e.g. litter carry, rescue helicopter)
– Moving you to a hospital or clinic, including treatment and transportation (e.g. ambulance, medical helicopter)
Not covered for this purpose is medical treatment in a hospital or similar location.
If you have a story to tell, please include the costs. If some of your costs were not billed, or covered by insurance or other sources, please give more details.
If you don't want to post in public, please send a PM, I'll keep your identity private.
Please reply by December 1, 2013.
— RexNov 18, 2013 at 7:58 am #2045773
Unrelated, yet possibly helpful – check out DAN insurance for divers. 3 tiered plans offer varying levels of Annual/Lifetime coverage for diving accidents (both domestic and international) including hyperbaric chambers, emergency transportation, etc. Might give you some rough numbers to play around with.Nov 18, 2013 at 9:47 am #2045798
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
doesn't SPOT offer some form of coverage ? i think i read they flew some fellow out of Resolute with kidney failure a few years ago
v.Nov 18, 2013 at 10:01 am #2045801
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
We buy this one locally, more for front country than backcountry.
in the backcountry, try to get the Sheriff to order a MAST chopper, they don't charge.Nov 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm #2045933
I'll bet you would get some good data is you inquired directly of various national parks, especially Grand Canyon, which has a wide variety of situations, met by differing strategies.Nov 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm #2047518
I think this is a very difficult question to answer.
Theres significant variation obviously between incidents, personnel, and equipment needed.
Then, there is the pricing. Cost accounting basis is tricky business. Is is being charged as incremental cost, or full book cost?
That is to say, people are on payroll, equipment is owned, maintained, and depreciated, regardless of whether or not it actually is used in a rescue. The proper cost to charge someone would be the incremental cost the rescue necessitated, which would consist of overtime, fuel, and wear and tear. This would be a fraction of full book cost.
However it would probably be common when assessing costs, to take the equipement asset costs and salaries and divide them by number of rescue hours,etc. Since time spent on rescues is a small percentage of total, this greatly inflates the cost.
From an SAR standpoint, rescues are the reason they have certain people and assets. So the cost is real to them
From an individual standpoint, its not there fault those people and equipment are under-utilized.
Suffice to say, the answers can range from a few hundred $ to $100,000+
This is why lawyers get involved at that point when someone gets charged.
Old accounting joke:
CEO of a corporation is interviewing for a head accounting position.
First applicant is asked "What is 2+2" , he answers confidently 4.
CEO says "Thank you, we will be in touch"
Second applicant is asked "What is 2+2", she answers 4,
CEO says "Thank you, we will be in touch"
Third applicant is asked "What is 2+2" , he answers "What would you like it to be?
CEO says "Your hired"Nov 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm #2047530
Jeffrey ListBPL Member
@jlistLocale: Cape Cod
A good resource for this issue in New Hampshire can be found on the forum http://www.vftt.org
See this thread for starters:
In this and other threads there's information on how much people got billed for their rescues, although I don't think itemized expenses were posted.Nov 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm #2047542
eric chanBPL Member
free whirlybird tours ….
theres some discussion about it, but the actual SAR groups are all against charging here …
;)Nov 24, 2013 at 11:34 am #2047643
Sumi WadaBPL Member
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
I broke an ankle about 5 miles down the Tanner Trail in GCNP this past spring. With help from other hikers, I was able to get to a saddle area where a helicopter could land. I sent a message up with hikers hiking out and they contacted park rangers. I made it clear that I was in stable condition, had enough water to spend the night and didn't need medical attention onsite.
My teenage son and I were flown out by helicopter later that afternoon. I believe the helicopter was NPS. They transported me to the frontcountry. They did bring crutches but didn't give me any medical attention. I'd been informed that the medical clinic in the Park was closed for the night and asked if I'd like to be transported to the hospital in Flagstaff. There was an ambulance waiting for us at the heli pad and I was taken by ambulance to Flagstaff medical center.
The helicopter transport was SAR and it was free. One of the rangers called me a few days later at home to make sure I'd gotten home OK. (I later made a donation to SAR; probably only a drop in the bucket but I'm really grateful for what they did.)
The ambulance transport from the South Rim to Flagstaff was over $3,000. My health insurance did cover most of it, so out-of-pocket expense would depend on individual coverage. Medical care I received at Flagstaff Medical Center was likewise handled through my health insurance. (Btw, Flagstaff MC was fantastic — they found and paid for a hotel that night and put us in a cab to get there. I didn't even have my cell phone with me.)
My insurance company's "recovery unit" contacted me a few months later and asked me if I had "discussed the responsibility for (my) accident with a park official". I thought that was pretty funny. :)Nov 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm #2047664
William LotmanBPL Member
@wl1193Locale: East Bay
Rex I sent you a PM.Nov 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm #2047696
@drusillaLocale: Wild Wild West
NRA 360 is one to look into. Most folks who are into adventuring around the world get something to supplement their normal insurance plan, but then again they can afford it.Nov 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm #2047732
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Rescue 360 for NRA Members is $399 per year.
Requirements, Exclusions, and Exceptions are not posted on the web site.Nov 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm #2047740
Thanks everyone for your forum posts and PMs, they will improve the article immensely.
Please send more stories and pointers. Every little bit helps.
For example, Rescue 360 is run by a company that provides similar services to 70 other large groups, and to individuals (at a higher price). That company is backed by another company, which is insured by other companies. Getting to the terms and conditions could be interesting.
— RexNov 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #2047917
Piper S.BPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
My partner has been rescued numerous times in Santa Barbara county and down in San Bernardino County (near San Jacinto). These rescues have involved helicopters and one just involved a fire rescue truck. It has not cost him anything for the rescue any of the times. Hospital bills and the taxi back to Idyllwild from Hemet did cost him something. I think the taxi cost the most since he has had health insurance each time.Nov 25, 2013 at 10:56 am #2047921
My first divorce was around $550. That was most certainly a rescue of sorts. Does that count?Jan 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm #2062353
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