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Schroder
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PostSat Mar 21, 2020 8:54 pm 
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Message to all wilderness users:

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, and with many local governments requiring people to avoid congregating in groups, many people are turning to the outdoors for recreation and entertainment. The increased traffic has led to—and will no doubt continue to lead to—an increased number of search and rescue callouts.

The vast majority of SAR personnel in the U.S. are volunteers. We all have families, and we always try to balance our personal lives with our desire to help those in need. During this time, we ask all wilderness users to enjoy the wilderness in a safer and more conservative manner than normal. If you’re an avid peak bagger or canyoneer, we ask that you consider simply going for a hike instead of something more challenging. If you’re new to hiking, please do some research before you go, select a hike that is suitable for beginners, and tell a responsible person your itinerary. While on the trail, please maintain the 6-foot social distancing recommended by the CDC. We’re not asking you to avoid the wilderness, but rather we’re asking you to do everything in your power to not need our services. This will require a conscious effort on your part. Skill, experience, and equipment are great to have, but they don’t make you immune to accidents. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes, so it’s important during these uncertain times to ensure that a simple mistake doesn’t result in an injury requiring rescue.

​Every time a SAR team gets deployed, the members of that team voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way for the sole purpose of helping someone in need. With the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread, every time a team gets called out, we now face an additional threat above and beyond the usual hazards. It’s important to remember that not all carriers of the virus are symptomatic. You may feel fine and inadvertently infect a rescuer. Or a rescuer may feel fine and inadvertently infect you. Because of this uncertainty, it’s best for everyone if you don’t get injured or lost. If you do choose to go out and enjoy the wilderness, please be mindful of all the search and rescue volunteers who are willing to put their own lives on hold in order to help those lost or injured in the wilderness.

Art Fortini
President
Mountain Rescue Association
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zephyr
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PostSat Mar 21, 2020 9:07 pm 
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Schroder wrote:
Message to all wilderness users:

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread, and with many local governments requiring people to avoid congregating in groups, many people are turning to the outdoors for recreation and entertainment. The increased traffic has led to—and will no doubt continue to lead to—an increased number of search and rescue callouts.

...

With the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread, every time a team gets called out, we now face an additional threat above and beyond the usual hazards.
...

Art Fortini
President
Mountain Rescue Association


This is an excellent message Schroder.  I hope it's being spread far and wide.  Maybe someone should send this to the Governor to be announced in one of his briefings. (Or even have one of the MSA officers be called on to announce this.  ~z
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Cyclopath
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PostSat Mar 21, 2020 10:10 pm 
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There's an influx of new people hiking, who've just been laid off, or found themselves with kids to entertain and educate.  These are the people who need the memo.
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zephyr
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 9:11 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
These are the people who need the memo.

Exactly.      ~z
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Schroder
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 9:20 am 
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This from Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team on Facebook:

This is our sole county rescue helicopter “SnoHawk 10” sitting on the rooftop pad at Providence Hospital in Everett, WA. We conducted one hoist rescue on 3/21/20 at Lake Serene. Our Volunteer SAR teams conducted another rescue earlier. Trails are still covered in snow and the lakes iced over. The trailheads are overflowing with cars and the trails are crowded. Many hikers are not equipped for snow travel in the mountains. Social distancing rules are not being followed in many areas.

A trip to the Emergency Room today results in expenditure of medical man hours, medical supplies and ties up first responders. Our new protocols include use of the scarce N95 masks. We will always respond to a rescue call when it meets our launch requirements but please ensure that you and your loved ones are being safe and equipped for the backcountry.

In these difficult times remember: “We came to work for you, please stay at home for us!”
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Kim Brown
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 10:19 am 
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Three rescues on Mailbox yesterday.

Hikers lost in the dark (not sure if all rescues were lost, but SAR found some that were during another rescue).

--------------
" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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HikerJohn
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 12:31 pm 
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Heard that many of the rescues on Mailbox yesterday were due to people going up without lights (and guessing the rest of the 10 essentials...!).

We USFS volunteers are restricted from going out right now so we can't even slow some of this down.  With the weather turning perhaps some of these "hikers" won't get into even more serious trouble...
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MyFootHurts
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 12:40 pm 
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I predict an exponential increase in fatalities from taking selfies at the edge of a cliff frown.gif
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seattlenativemike
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 1:39 pm 
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That memo should be posted at every trailhead
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Riverside Laker
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 3:33 pm 
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I'm starting to think trips like the Bacon Peak one posted today are irresponsible. Of course, not blaming them since this SAR request is just getting routed around.
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Schroder
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 3:36 pm 
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For King and Snohomish Counties, SAR has been called on over 10 missions this weekend.
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 5:07 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
Three rescues on Mailbox yesterday.

Hikers lost in the dark (not sure if all rescues were lost, but SAR found some that were during another rescue).

Freak accident.  No one could have predicted it would get dark.
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neek
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 5:57 pm 
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Cyclopath wrote:
Freak accident.  No one could have predicted it would get dark.

Agreed. Perhaps one day we will all walk around with little slabs of metal and glass that can double as a perfectly functional flashlight.
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Celticclimber
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 6:14 pm 
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All the Mountain Rescue Teams in Scotland put out a notice last week asking
the same thing: That people refrain from heading to the hills.
But just like on this side of the ocean. People have nothing else to do.

I'm still going out. And will continue to do so.
But I do go equipped, to spend at least one miserable night out if need be.

--------------
Live every day like you will die to-marrow.
For some day that will be true.
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awilsondc
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 7:52 pm 
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Riverside Laker wrote:
I'm starting to think trips like the Bacon Peak one posted today are irresponsible.

I'll disagree here.  The guys who climbed Bacon Peak are out there doing this every week.  They know what they're doing.  Of course, accidents do happen but they are part of the "usual" group of hikers and climbers who are out there on any given day trying their best to be safe and hoping they never need a rescue.  They aren't the cause of the ten SAR missions this week.  It's a massive influx of people who don't usually hike but are out there because they're off work with nothing to do.  Look no further than the details of Mailbox Peak rescues this weekend.  I don't have all the stats so I might be wrong, but I be the majority of the ten rescues this weekend were on "easy" hikes.
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