About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yuppie Emergency Calls

The following article was taken from an associated press report.

Apparently, people not well equipped are carrying a GPS device that can alert rescue teams in case of a emergency or evacuation required especially when in rough terrain.

These devices are now below USD100 to buy and a lot of "idiots" (based on my understanding of the article) buy these and press the emergency button to scramble helicopters and rescuers to their rescue.

Article summarised as follows:
Last month two men and their teenage sons tackled one of the world's most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon's parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon — just in case.

In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the steep canyon walls.

What was that emergency? The water they had found to quench their thirst "tasted salty."

Technology has made calling for help instantaneous even in the most remote places. Because would-be adventurers can send GPS coordinates to rescuers with the touch of a button, some are exploring terrain they do not have the experience, knowledge or endurance to tackle.

While daring rescues are one result, very often the beacons go off unintentionally when the button is pushed in someones backpack, or they are activated unnecessarily, as in the case of a woman who was frightened by a thunderstorm.

"In the past, people who got in trouble self-rescued; they got on their hands and knees and crawled out," says John Amrhein, the county's emergency coordinator. "We saw the increase in non-emergencies with cell phones: people called saying 'I'm cold and damp. Come get me out.' These take it to another level."

Last year, the beacon for a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail triggered accidentally in his backpack, sending helicopters scrambling. Recently, a couple from New Bruswick, British Columbia activated their beacon when they climbed a steep trail and could not get back down. A helicopter lowered them 200 feet to secure footing.

In September, a hiker from Placer County was panning for gold in New York Canyon when he became dehydrated and used his rescue beacon to call for help.

With darkness setting in on the same day, Mono County sheriff's deputies asked the National Guard for a high-altitude helicopter and a hoist for a treacherous rescue of two beacon-equipped hikers stranded at Convict Lake. The next day they hiked out on foot.

When eight climbers ran into trouble last winter during a summit attempt of Mt. Hood in Oregon, they called for help after becoming stranded on a glacier in a snowstorm.

"The question is, would they have decided to go on the trip knowing the weather was going bad if they had not been able to take the beacons," asks Rocky Henderson of Portland Mountain Rescue. "We are now entering the Twilight Zone of someone else's intentions."

The Grand Canyon's Royal Arch loop, the National Park Service warns, "has a million ways to get into serious trouble" for those lacking skill and good judgment. One evening the fathers-and-sons team activated their beacon when they ran out of water.

Rescuers, who did not know the nature of the call, could not launch the helicopter until morning. When the rescuers arrived, the group had found a stream and declined help.

That night, they activated the emergency beacon again. This time the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter, which has night vision capabilities, launched into emergency mode.

When rescuers found them, the hikers were worried they might become dehydrated because the water they found tasted salty. They declined an evacuation, and the crew left water.

The following morning the group called for help again. This time, according to a park service report, rescuers took them out and cited the leader for "creating a hazardous condition" for the rescue teams.

I think that these idiots should be charge for every rescue attempt to be made that is deemed not an emergency, and be charged a lot - enough that they will be paying for it for their lives and the children will have to continue paying it for their lives as well. Then that would ensure that idiots and wimps with these devices will not press the rescue button for some of the cases cited in the article.

Sheesh. Only in America. No wonder their economy is in such wonderful state. It's the American dream and all of them live in one.

Take care and be well.

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