Top of The Notch
According to AFD Chief Tim Nelson the late night rescue, "Came close to negatively impacting a medical emergency. The guy on the mountain made a bad choice but he had a choice. Those people who truly need our help don't have a choice."
Not to mention the potential harm to first responders negotiating dangerous conditions in order to carry out the mission, as evidenced by a police officer injured in the incident.
Yes, you don't want people to hesitate calling 911 in an emergency if they think a bill will be presented for services rendered as a penalty, but at the same time you don't want taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior.
And setting off on a hike in mountainous woods, late at night, in the middle of the winter is by most standards of measurement, a bad call.
In Alaska, Colorado or even our neighboring New Hampshire White Mountains, if someone gets into trouble on a hike and requires a tactical rescue, authorities send them a bill (assuming they survive).
Or if our ambulance picked up an unconscious citizen on the side of the road and transported them to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital their insurance company would cover the cost or Amherst would send them a bill.
And it would not be hard to itemize.
Amherst Fire Department costs:Personnel – $2830.89
Apparatus Equipment $4800.00
Total – $7630.89
Amherst Police Department costs:
4 patrol officers at the scene times 3 hrs each: $437.04
1 Sergeant at the scene for 3 hours: $131.10
1 Lieutenant at the scene for 2 hours: $104.64
And 4 shifts covered for injured officer 32 hrs. Total: $1165.44
Grand Total: $1838.22
And these are just Amherst's costs. South Hadley Fire District 2 also had a major response and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
What else AFD did that week (Dispatch statistics)