SAR Dashboard Form

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Monster5
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SAR Dashboard Form

Post by Monster5 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:50 pm

This form is makin' the rounds. It takes a bit of time to fill out and place on the dashboard before every hike, but it can save SAR considerable resources and time in the event of an "oh Nazareth F-bomb."

Dashboard note
"The road to alpine climbing is pocked and poorly marked, ending at an unexpectedly closed gate 5 miles from the trailhead." - MP user Beckerich
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madbuck
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by madbuck » Tue May 31, 2016 4:21 pm

Always a good idea to let somebody know...
This has some great info to consider, such as which map is being used.

I've left plenty of visible notes (in remote and/or longer ventures), upside-down (not visible -- break in-case-of-glass) notes, messages with family/friends, etc. And a few notes on my bike that also said, "Please don't steal this, or I'll be stranded"
And plenty of 'no-notes' on shorter, routine hikes (ironically, these may be higher-percentage frequency of missions in general).

But, considering the real risks of vandalism, I would have to say this should be used with discretion and common sense.
"We" often become so focused on our own area of expertise and interest, and one primary outcome (in this case, 'searchability'), that we often lose focus on the holistic nature of everything, the bigger picture...the tradeoff involved in also considering risks of vandalism, and risks to privacy. I wouldn't, in good conscience, say that this form should always be upfacing on a dash for every person for every excursion.

***
Actually reading the whole thing:
"Never Travel Alone and Never Separate From Your Group!!"
"Remember Cotton Kills - Do not bring cotton clothing!!"

I get the larger point, and it's better to get most people thinking about it -- better than not thinking about it at all.
But some of these are a little over the top for my tastes.
What do y'all think?
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MonGoose
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by MonGoose » Tue May 31, 2016 4:40 pm

I agree that it is essential when you head into the backcountry to let someone know your whereabouts and expected return. My concern with this form is that the only reason SAR or the sheriff will be examining your car is if they have received a call that you are missing. Your car is not going to call for help if you don't make it back in time, regardless of what you right on the form. In my opinion, an email containing your itinerary to a handful of friends is still a better option in most cases.
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by Teresa Gergen » Tue May 31, 2016 6:31 pm

Has anyone tried this service? $4.99/year for an automated emergency contact.

https://www.hikeralert.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Thoughts?
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by TallGrass » Tue May 31, 2016 7:20 pm

How are they gonna read it? Break vehicle windows until they find a match? Or if it's the Humboldt Camera Thief, "Oh good. They won't be back home for a couple days."? No solo hikes?

+1 On leaving itinerary and ETA with friends.
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Tiredness is the shortest path to equality and fraternity - and sleep finally adds to them liberty."
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by CreekRunner » Tue May 31, 2016 7:41 pm

Teresa Gergen wrote:Has anyone tried this service? $4.99/year for an automated emergency contact.

https://www.hikeralert.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Thoughts?
Mobile Phone Tracking enables you to drop digital "breadcrumbs" along your route, whenever you have a cell signal.
I think that's the deal breaker. It also says it uses internet, so it sounds like you need internet connection as well? It has a good price tag compared to a SPOT, but on other trips beside a day trip (And for a lot of those too), I usually have exactly zero bars of cell coverage. I make sure to explicitly tell a contact about what time I plan to contact them, plus on mountains that have cell coverage, I can connect my GPS to Live track without the need for an app to automatically do it for me.
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by MountainHiker » Tue May 31, 2016 8:38 pm

If you have a Spot, and I expect also with InReach, there is the option to leave details of your current hike in your profile. In addition to route info and schedule, you can include who is with you along with some extra contact information, especially people who will have additional useful information.
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by Teresa Gergen » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:25 am

FWIW, the High Sierra Topix forum, a California mountain forum, provides this form for their members to use. Has a lot more detail, and space to upload photos of yourself, wearing your hiking clothes, your gear, and your shoe tread:

http://reconn.org/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (info)
http://reconn.org/form.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (web form)

IMHO, the most useful thing you could put on an emergency info form would be a link to a Caltopo map showing your proposed route, that SAR could download to their own GPS to follow.

My question about HikerAlert wasn't meant to suggest it replace an InReach or Spot; it would be to replace the emergency contact on the other end of the InReach or Spot, for those who don't have someone capable of taking on the responsibility of being an emergency contact, or for people whose emergency contact possibilities are just as likely to be out climbing at the same time as they are, or for people who climb so many days out of the year that it's not really fair to ask someone to be an emergency contact day in and day out.

If you could have your InReach/Spot send a message to a program, and configure that program to only contact a real person if you didn't check in when you said you were going to, that would be of value. No need for a cell signal in that case. I don't know if HikerAlert allows this. I guess my question is, does anyone know of any service that does?
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by Monster5 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:34 am

These ideas are great. As long as you've some sort of contingency plan. To be frank, I rarely leave an itinerary. My partners generally know what I'm doing. Problem is, they're probably out hiking too. So multiple options are beneficial, as long as the message can be relayed to SAR sans confusion and in an efficient manner.

Teresa - that Sierra deal is a great idea. Some sort of trip log planning tool hosted by a website (LoJ might be more appropriate for those wandering off the beaten path), which admins and SAR can access in the Event. I'm not a computer guy, but I wonder how hard it would be to add that component to each peak page on LoJ: "click here to add this peak to your peak planning page" with a section to add in details and gpx link. 14ers.com might work too, though it wouldn't be linked to a specific peak if <13K.

I'm not familiar with an automated call to arms (trigger SOS if the climber hasn't checked in in X hrs). I'm guessing that system might see quite a few hiccups and false alarms upon implementation, given battery issues and send failures. But I can see that type of system being useful, particularly for somebody who gets out as much as you do.
"The road to alpine climbing is pocked and poorly marked, ending at an unexpectedly closed gate 5 miles from the trailhead." - MP user Beckerich
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Re: SAR Dashboard Form

Post by Teresa Gergen » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:02 pm

So let's assume we're starting with someone who already has an InReach or Spot and is not dependent on having a cell signal. If that person has an emergency, and is conscious, or a member of their group is, they're going to hit the SOS button themselves and generate a call to a service that will start SAR. That part is already covered just by having the InReach or Spot.

The issue of altering your plans is also covered by having an InReach or Spot. You put everything you might possibly do in the emergency note, and then your emergency contact can tell from where your check-in messages come from if you've deviated from your main plan and are doing something else. If you have an InReach, you can text them on the InReach if you don't have a cell signal on your phone, and spell out your change of plans explicitly. So this is also not where the problem is.

The problem is when your emergency contact is waiting up at home for you to send a check-in message, and it doesn't come, and they have to decide if/when they're supposed to initiate a SAR. Unfortunately there are a lot of reasons this could happen. You could have fumbled the unit and it's down the side of a cliff (I keep mine leashed to my pack). For the (rechargeable-only) InReach, you could have run out of power, especially on a long trip. Or, you could be unconscious and actually need a rescue that you can't initiate yourself on the unit. Or, you could be dead. Or, you could be so wiped out after an epic day of climbing that you just forgot to check in before you fell asleep in the tent.

A program that worked in conjunction with an InReach or Spot wouldn't need to automatically generate a call to start SAR if you were supposed to check in and didn't. Yes, that would probably lead to way too many false calls to SAR. It would just need to contact a real person from your emergency contact list at that point, so that a human who knows you and your climbing habits could then make a reasoned decision about if/when to call SAR. A human who got a message from such a program could start by trying to call you on your cell phone, or, if you have an InReach, trying to send a message to your InReach. You could maybe have an agreement with this person that they'd wait to start SAR until say 24 hours or something after they tried to contact you, since maybe your phone will only work the next day when you get to the top of the next summit, or you only turn on your InReach when you send an OK message the next day from the next summit.

The advantage is that your emergency contact wouldn't need to stay up waiting for your check-in message when they need to get to bed and go to work the next day, and wouldn't need to get bombarded with lots of check-in messages throughout the day (or days, in the case of a long trip). If you could fill in a detailed form with your trip plan as part of this programming, preferably including links to online topo software like Caltopo that showed your planned route, and/or links to LOJ peaks you're planning to climb, then your emergency contact wouldn't even need to know the details of your trip, just where to go look for them in the event that they got called by the program if you didn't check in.

The most logical host for such a program would actually be Delorme and Spot themselves. Does anyone here have an inside connection to them, or know someone who does, to suggest something like this?
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