If I use search and rescue, who pays for it?

Local News

UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Hikers and climbers kept Utah County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews busy on Memorial Day and officials said their response efforts are costly, but worth helping the public.

“We don’t want somebody making their decision to call for help whether or not they can pay for it,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office public information officer.

Cannon said rescue operations like the climber stuck on the face of Mount Timpanogos Tuesday morning, costs “roughly several thousand dollars” – but is at no cost to the person.

RELATED: Rescued hiker recounts 30-hour experience in Millcreek Canyon

Because an unpredictable situation may require a person to call for help, Cannon said rescue operations are funded by tax revenue, some state funds and even donations – which can be made by calling the Utah County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue office.

Cannon said if a person finds themselves in need of help while outdoors, search and rescue crews are prepared to respond, and said to make that call for help.

“If someone’s life depends on whether they call search and rescue, we don’t want them to decide not to call because they think they might have to pay,” Cannon said.

RELATED: Washington County rescuers overwhelmed by calls for help

While a rescue may be costly, Cannon said they won’t ever leave you stranded.

“We’re never going to make somebody sit out there on the lake and wonder how they are going to survive, or up on a mountain ledged out on a cliff, wondering how they’re going to get saved,” Cannon said.

Cannon said some rescue responses could be prevented and he encourages the public to be careful and know their limits.

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