Talking to a couple of friends last night, we got talking about hiking and mountain biking in rural areas off the beaten track and the question came up about emergency services if any of us got into trouble. By trouble I mean having to, for example, get helicoptered out of a remote area inaccessible by vehicles. Hope I’m not tempting fate, but wondered if anyone was aware of how such an event would be dealt with from a cost point of view i.e. would the rescued person be liable for any costs?
I found this…
Thanks @Fleur , that looks very reassuring and a relief. I can imagine the authorities feeling a little upset when costs are incurred by some folks being quite negligent, but as they mention in the article, quite difficult to prove. Another good reason to be here in France
I had a look at the French situation because I’ve been reading today about the issues of people hiking in very hot dry conditions in the USA. I think you have to pay for transport in certain cases.
“Never rely on the possibility of somebody being able to rescue you, because rescuers are also human,” said Kasia Kimmel, an assistant professor of emergency medicine in Houston. “It’s not okay to think that you’re going to be rescued, because it is more complicated than just somebody going out and finding you.”
Help may not be immediately on the way. Many factors are at play, such as the availability of the first responders, the accessibility of the impaired visitor and the air temperature. High temps can mean that helicopters may not be able to fly.
Food for thought!
We’ve moved on from baking, and into frying
Yes fully understandable that the emergency services will do their best to help but there may be certain conditions when they are hampered. I guess that’s the risk one takes going ‘off the beaten’ track, but still not as bad as getting caught in a subzero storm on Everest, so happy with the level of risk I’m taking. Just didn’t want to be faced with a significant rescue bill, perish the thought should the situation arise
I think I read somewhere, advising folk who undertake hazardous sports… to take out the necessary insurance… just in case. I can’t remember the details, or what sports are included… but it’s worth looking into.
Not yet, but there is repeatedly stuff in the news of introducing a charge for people who go out negligently unequipped. It comes up every year in the Mont Blanc massif and the Alps more generally with idiots attempting things they shouldn’t be in gear that is less than appropriate, and then falling off, down, dying, getting mutilated, lost, dehydrated, and all sorts of other mishaps, most of which could probably have been avoided or mitigated with a bit of forethought, knowledge and training .
EDIT: I would add that it isn’t really a new phenomena. Back in 1988, I met several people coming up across the névé fields in Corsica on the summit trail de Monte Cintu, in sandals and a fold-up baby stroller no less. Beggared belief. No surprises then when I learned later that one of such sandal-wearing brigade slipped, fell down the slope and end up with cranial trauma requiring an airlift to hospital.
There have been many attempts to charge for emergency services, but generally it’s free - except if you need a doctor (rather than a paramedic) helicoptered to you when it’s’ something like €1500 an hour and you (or your mutuelle if you have chosen that option) pay the %. In some ski area the service is private so you pay - but the ski pass generally includes insurance. If you go off piste then at your own risk so insurance needed.
It’s not clear tho, as there were proposals to allow communes to choose. I was trying to find out as we had a family last week where the boys were into the extreme sports - and the mother wasn’t!
Yes, I’ve also seen some crazy things over the years with folks clearly biting off more than they can handle with clear lack of ability and gear. Not sure what possesses some folks - think they see something on tv, get all inspired, not fully realizing what IT, whatever it is, involves. I’ve seen folks on the mountains without adequate rain gear or footwear and just carry some flimsy rucksack that probably just has a couple of sandwiches in it, and those that look like there about to have a coronary nit far up a steep slope.
Back in the day, we always took out mountain rescue insurance. It also covered different countries because you could never tell which side of a mountain you might fall off of🙄. Happily, never needed to use it.
I’ve seen this several times myself over the years in the Lake District, up a mountain in unsuitable attire. I’ve personally had to administer first aid and help someone down 3 times. Luckily I never came across anything more serious than cuts, bruises and one suspected broken nose.