The Yuppie 911


Here is an example of how technology can make the lives of public safety officials much more difficult:

Emergency responders around the U.S. are concerned about a growing trend, a practice they've dubbed "yuppie 9-1-1." It's when someone with limited survival skills goes out into the wilderness and then relies on technology as a safety net.

Locator beacons that hit global positioning satellites are increasingly being taken into the remote back country. And while the devices have saved lives, there have also been a number of false alarms and calls for help where there really was no emergency at all. Search and rescue leaders say hikers who cry wolf cost taxpayers money and put other lives in real danger.

The typical misuse involves inexperienced hikers who get cold or caught by some bad weather. Instead of waiting out the storm, they hit the 9-1-1 button.

But one case in Arizona was an extreme abuse. A father was camping with his son. He hit the S.O.S. on his GPS locator three times in three days. The last time was because he was dehydrated and drank from a stream. He panicked because the water tasted salty. Search teams did find the pair and after the third 'rescue' they order the two out of the wilderness.
And urban police officers thought they had the market cornered on job frustration.

9 comments:

angelcel said...

It frustrates me to hear this because it's part of a modern inability to take responsibility for oneself. We occasionally hear cases here in the UK where people have acted totally irresponsibly in places like Snowdonia, the weather has closed in and the rescue services have had to put their own lives at risk to save the day. I think that if someone has been a complete idiot (like the chap you describe), then the rescue services should have the option to charge for the rescue operation.

mrs. fuzz said...

HF is on a search and rescue team for our mountainous region and they have to be ham radio certified. I had no idea that the Ham radio society has its own internal policing. They are way serious about licensing and abuse of radios. Also, when someone is in need of assistance, this team of guys (who take turns camping in the mountains in rugged conditions) have to hike to the people who need help. It is hard work. Other than it costing taxpayers money, these people are risking their own lives to come and save you. Depending on the situation they may have to call a helicopter in for help, so if these people are crying wolf, this is happening each time they do it. I guess it also depends on the time of year too. You probably already knew all this.

It's beyond my understanding why people would wander into the wilderness and then need help for non emergencies. HF has said that the people they have rescued have mostly been inexperienced hikers that are wandering in the winter ill prepared.

J. J. in Phila said...

Maybe after the first time, they should have gone home.

Oz Girl said...

OMG. I can't even believe that last case. They should have ordered them OUT after the 2nd call!!!

BTW, you've won a calendar! Email me your choice/size (which I believe was the Kansas Country) and your address. :)

Ann T. said...

I think angelcel hits it--"modern inability to take responsibility"
and also a decreasing number of people who know how to do practical things in the world.

Wow.

Ann T.

terri said...

As technology improves, it seems like common sense decreases. What is wrong with people? Geez. If you're worried about the water you drank from a stream, then go home!

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments.

@ Mrs. F.: I appreciate the insights on what HF's experience has been. I don't know much about this subject.

@ Terri: Yeah, you'd think the salty water of a rural area would be less of a worry than all of the prescription drugs being recycled into the public water supply in our big cities.

Dan said...

An ongoing problem with hikers, skiers, snowboarders, hunters, etc. I like the idea of billing the callers for the rescue services if there is evidence of incompetence to get into the situation.

Binky Bink said...

I really don't understand why yuppies feel the need to go out into the wilderness and "have an adventure", when the only time they ever go on a hike is on a treadmill at the gym ;p It's an entertaining story, but it must be very annoying for rescue workers. Maybe the yuppies should stick to what they're good at, like grabbing coffee at Starbucks and looking trendy! ;p