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Rescuers are to be thanked, but there’s a cost for every response

Headlines were made when eight canoeists had to be rescued from the BWCA. With our thanks to all of those involved in this being a happy ending, there needs to be a word of caution.
This is a slippery slope when we send helicopters, airplanes and boats when somebody calls in to say their canoe tipped over. There must be a degree of responsibility for each and every person who makes it their choice to go on a canoe trip.
If you end up in the water, get yourself out and dry off. Make a fire, pitch a tent, do what’s needed. Locate the rest of your group and believe that they have done the same thing. Basically, don’t panic.
Hindsight in this case is 20/20 or better. But what can we learn from it?
We know there is a cost for each rescue. Taxpayers often are left to foot the bill, an unfair disadvantage to living next to federal wilderness area. And don’t forget that every pilot, boat operator and their passengers are being put at risk as well.
The main problem with this situation was the lack of communication. Those left to decide how to respond did not have a good situation report. It was not clear where these people were or how many were in the water or “missing.”
Without that information, the rescuers were left to assume the worst. Every resource was tapped. Helicopters, a float plane, boats and ambulances were dispatched.
It turns out that the response was more than needed. There were no serious injuries, thankfully, and no bodies to retrieve, something we’re all extremely thankful for.
Again, our thanks to the rescuers for putting their lives on the line.
Our hope is we as a society do more to take personal responsibility for our actions.
When we choose to vacation in a remote area, we assume the risk of something happening that wasn’t in the plans. Isn’t that part of the adventure of going there in the first place?

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