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paying for rescue

Thu 25 Apr, 2019 2:56 pm

Been a few recent news reports of people being injured or putting rescuers lives in danger(and worse) at popular outdoor locations.

I'm not in favor of closing access due to unprepared/foolish people getting into trouble.

I wonder if charging for rescue is the answer? (if it's determined a person negligently put themselves at risk).

And would it make any difference?

Though then you run the risk of some nanny state authority writing a list of over the top rules/required equipment to be carried/adhered to.. in order for a person to be compliant with a safety code and thus not negligent.

Re: paying for rescue

Thu 25 Apr, 2019 3:50 pm

I think that overall, the threat of charging may lead people to delay contacting help, or attempting more hazardous self-rescues that then make the situation worse. I agree that there does need to be some sort of method to make the situation better, but I'm not sure quite what that is. Potentially there is room for a larger number and more diverse walking clubs that can allow people to get out while giving them some of that training that many of us either learned formally, or the hard way. I think especially of the wilderness instagram crowd who often don't show or recognize what it takes to get to certain areas. So you have one person do a stunt, lots of planning, thought, and preparation. Its then followed by a copycat who thinks, well, they made it look easy, so it must be. We know that a simple thing like yesterdays weather can turn an easy walk into a deadly ordeal, but if you've never had to consider that before, it's not exactly intuitive.

What might be a more beneficial system may be more of a club/insurance sort of system where people are encouraged to be a dues paying member of a group, and those groups do more than just host walks, but also assist in park maintenance, landowner relations to access private lands, and those resources can also be then directed towards paying for rescues. Where I live there is a lot of national park area that is easy to access, but that often means its very overcrowded, and that does lead people who want to get further from the crowds to get into more dangerous locations. If there was a way to access more private lands, that might help somewhat.

Re: paying for rescue

Thu 25 Apr, 2019 5:23 pm

This is a link to an article on the planned Austrian Hikers Code: ... SKBN1QS20D

Basically, if you don’t follow the code then you can’t claim for damages if something goes wrong.

It’s a small step from that to charging people for rescue if they don’t follow some code.

And, yes, I’m aware that the situation in Austria is quite different to Australia but it does make you think...

Re: paying for rescue

Thu 25 Apr, 2019 6:09 pm

ChrisJHC wrote:This is a link to an article on the planned Austrian Hikers Code: ... SKBN1QS20D

Basically, if you don’t follow the code then you can’t claim for damages if something goes wrong.

It’s a small step from that to charging people for rescue if they don’t follow some code.

And, yes, I’m aware that the situation in Austria is quite different to Australia but it does make you think...

Interesting. This is what is currently on the Tyrol website when I click on code of conduct from their main page. ... ain-hiking I dont think this is the actual (future) code referred to in the article but what they currently have.

They have links to gear lists as well. the mulitday hiking list shows how different it is over there. as its given that there will always be mobile phone coverage, huts with food/gas etc, little reference to water requirements, so an assumed easy access to water on the trail.

Also good info on trail grades and equipment/skill requirements for different grades.

I also wonder if an alternative way of managing the increasing visitation in our NP (and resulting increased dumbass quota) is simply to resource the respective parks services better. Improve the parks website, fund and develop a good track network so a single area doesnt become as over crowded., fund rescue services, fund vistors centres where people can get advice at the trail head. It works for Europe and NZ. Maybe there is no way to stop stupid but atleast if Parks services were well resourced it will make the majority of casual walkers safer.

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 26 Apr, 2019 7:40 am

We all directly and indirectly pay for rescues (taxes, rates, donations, ambulance membership and corporate sponsorship) and the current system works pretty good. It would be a lot more expensive if not for the scale of the volunteering efforts. Certainly in Victoria, if you don't have an ambulance membership, you will have to pay for a trip.

We do have a lot more tourists and a growing population leading to more rescues, but I haven's seen much in the way of corresponding funding increases for parks, other than just closing them (either permanently, seasonally like the Simpson Desert, or on a windy day).

For sure, we need to make sure negligent people can't sue. There is the chance the rescuer can sue, and that has already got some precedent now and could be tested further, but unless there is some kind of insurance company involved, its unlikely.

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 26 Apr, 2019 8:36 am

Part of the problem with “approved” gear lists is that they have to cater for all conditions and levels of experience.

This means that they often include vastly more than anyone would actually take with them. This can mean that if you don’t take every item then you are “in breach” which could lead to future consequences.

For example, I can pretty much guarantee that every “official” list would say to take a tent. I rarely take a tent and hence would almost always be in breach and therefore uninsured/liable for rescue charges/etc.

If the “official” list says something more generic such as “tent or equivalent” then it becomes so broad as to be meaningless and just another lawyer’s picnic. For some on this forum, that would mean a poncho, for me it means hammock and tarp, for others a bivvy and so on.

For example, here is the list from Parks Tasmania:
This approach is quite good as it clearly separates “absolute minimum” from “consider the following” but it is still open for a lot of interpretation.

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 26 Apr, 2019 8:45 am

I have been involved in a couple of incidents in the last year and am strongly opposed to any charges for rescue, ambulance, etc, on the grounds that any system of charging will make people delay calling for help until it becomes much harder for the rescue team and a worse outcome for the person needing rescue.

In one case a member of our party was lost and we called for help in time for the local fire service to scour the fire trails before it became too dark to see.
In the other case I became ill and an ambulance came to me and gave me painkillers before moving me, rather than have my family stuff me in the car and drive me somewhere without any painkillers or anti-nausea treatment.

If we were going to pay for rescue services in each case we probably would have delayed or coped on our own, but with much worse results for the affected person.

The idea of not charging only if people observe a code-of-conduct does not really help. There will always be something you have done that doesn't quite fit the rules and even it it has no bearing on the event some nit-picker in head office will say you didn't observe the code so you get charged.

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 26 Apr, 2019 11:10 am

A few years ago, an electric blanket malfunctioned at our house, and we woke up to find the bed smoking. My first thought was to call 000, but as a uni student, the thought of having to spend $500 on a call out fee resulted in me deciding to try and drag the mattress outside and just deal with it myself. Fortunately, the smoke from the smouldering was too much and I had no choice but to call 000. A truck arrived a few minutes later, and they went inside. As soon as they lifted the mattress off the bed, air got under and it whooshed up in flames. If the fireies weren't there, the whole house would have been burnt down.

Point of the story is, sometimes it's just better and cheaper if people aren't afraid to call for help early. (Turns out too, there isn't a call out fee for the fire brigade!)

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 26 Apr, 2019 11:24 am

whre people have to pay they have been proven to be more likely to put off signalling for rescue to try and avoid paying, the delay in signalling for rescue often leads to a more difficult dangerous rescue, it, helicopters flying at night instead of during the day, or people who have a worsening injury or illness. or people who wander further away from a track...

Re: paying for rescue

Tue 30 Apr, 2019 3:59 pm

I am somewhat amused (or should that be "bemused") when the debate arises around a payment to recompense the Emergency Services and /or Volunteer Rescue groups. The over riding need in a S & R situation is not to make an existing situation worse. Any delay in commencing a rescue may well have a negative bearing on the problem. If negligent actions contribute to the cause of the problem, these will generally only become evident some time after the incident has been resolved and at that stage there is nothing to be gained by a "witch hunt" trying to apportion blame.
It can be hoped that lessons can be learned from any S & R incident, and an educative process be followed through in the expectation that it may not happen again. Having been closely involved in 2 remote area incidents which resulted in the lose of a life, it is an experience which stays with you for life, and neither occasion was as a result of negligence. The professional assistance that was afforded to us by the Emergency Services was nothing short of amazing. Our taxes which paid their wages was well spent, I can assure you.

Re: paying for rescue

Thu 26 Sep, 2019 8:15 pm

Victoria has an Ambulance Subscriber scheme. If you join you have unlimited ambulance transport. If you're not a member then you have to pay the full cost of the ambulance transport. It cost me $47.15 to renew this year. I'd be in favour of a similar scheme for bushwalking S&R.

Re: paying for rescue

Fri 27 Sep, 2019 9:22 am

Donate to your local SES and CFA (in Vic)? I also donate to the RFDS. Get your bushwalking club to run a fundraising event?
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