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Old 02-26-2020, 12:41 PM   #1
cab2321
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Join Date: Jan 2020
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Calling 911 for search and rescue?

Have you ever called 911 while lost in the wilderness? If so, do you want to share your story with me?

My name is Claire Bryan and I'm a reporter at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. I'm working on a story about search and rescue and how the process works in the state of New York.

In addition to being a reporter, I'm an outdoor educator and I care about hiking safety a great deal. This background led me to work on a story about how the search and rescue process works and potentially address any gaps in that process. I'm examining county protocols and both local agencies and state agencies role.

Please reach out to me here or at claire.bryan@columbia.edu if you have an experience to share. Thank you.
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:13 AM   #2
tenderfoot
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Claire,

Good luck with your research. No, have yet to initiate a search (knocking on wood) but we do this:
  • We share a trip plan with a family member. This includes maps with our intended path, alternate paths highlighted. Usually a guesstimate on where we are camping.
  • Our planning includes close attention to weather, sunrise and sunset. And, oddly enough moon rise (Some think you have to wait until dawn for ambient light but on some nights the woods is rather beautiful lit by the moon).
  • We include a very generous 'call by' time. If we expect to get off trail by 5 we say we should check in via cell by 8 or 9. This takes into account schedule changes but also many trail heads are not in cell range.
  • We carry enough gear so that an unanticipated overnight would not in itself be a disaster.
  • On the map we write down the appropriate DEC Ranger station to call rather than 911. Family member would be calling from Rochester NY so contacting the DEC directly is our plan.
  • We've looked at but have yet to invest in a SPOT locator device that would enable us to transmit a distress signal with a location.
  • We carry maps and compass (one set for each of us) and use our phone GPS's. Some miss that your phone's GPS will in fact work out of cell range.

So with all of the above I can answer "No, we have never called 911" but I can also share "Yes, we have certainly been lost in the woods".
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