SELF RESCUE ASSISTANCE NETWORK (SRAN)
The SRAN provides a means for people who have decided to attempt a self rescue to obtain assistance from others that might make the difference between their being able to effect that self rescue and having to call the sheriff for help. Sometimes a person can get the help they need from friends, but sometimes those friends are unavailable or unable to help.
Self rescue is an access issue. Last summer when people died or were incapacitated on hiking trails around PHX, there was a move to shut trails down when the authorities deemed conditions to be too dangerous. They cited the costs of rescues. The “gym to crag” curriculum should include the importance of self rescue. There are situations where people could effectively make the decision to attempt a self rescue if they just had access to some additional resources, which might mean nothing more than a second rope, another person to provide a belay or a few extra people to help with a carry. For example, my wife broke a couple of bones in her foot at Jacks Canyon a couple of years ago. I carried her out, but if it was me with the broken foot she wouldn’t have been able to carry me, and while I might have been able to crawl out, there might be some situations, such as the addition of a broken wrist, where that would not have been possible. Maybe a pair of climbers are the last ones at Upper Solitude, it is getting dark and cold and one of them drops their rope while retying at the anchor and their partner doesn’t have the skills or familiarity with the area necessary to get a rope to them. Being able to send out a message and find someone who could get up there quickly and help would be useful, and in some situations, much faster than going through the sheriff. If a pair of climbers is attempting a self rescue and no one else is at the crag, they might just need some additional gear or warm clothing to complete a self rescue.
Participants can send out a request through an app that sends texts to others about the situation. The app sends texts to a small group first, rather than every single person. Everyone is rotated through being on that first call list for a month or so once or twice a year. People who can respond use the app to enter information on their ETA if they know how to get to the particular area and what they can or cannot help with. Once enough people have responded affirmatively through the app, the person who initiated the request can use it to send out another text saying that no more people are needed. The app can be used to exchange texts with one or two of the people who have responded affirmatively to discuss details.
Eventually different regions can have their own networks. The networks can be integrated to allow users to participate in other networks when traveling. In remote areas that have cell reception or where cell reception can be reached before getting all the way back to a trail-head or town, one group might be able to use it to obtain assistance from another group nearby but out of sight and earshot or from people they did not even know were in the same area.
The program provides assistance for people who have decided for themselves that self rescue is appropriate and know what they might need to accomplish it. There are potential liability issues, but I believe they can be addressed. I don’t think anyone should allow unfounded fears about being sued to keep them from signing up to offer to help carry someone with minor injuries down a trail or run up to a crag to help someone with a minor problem. The organization is fully autonomous and completely free from any support, cooperation or alliance with the sheriff’s rescue team, any other more organized rescue groups, any local businesses – including the climbing gyms, etc. The attached agreement and liability form is just a rough initial draft. The intent is to explain the network within the agreement and waiver itself, rather than having separate documents.
SELF RESCUE ASSISTANCE NETWORK (Referred to below as SRAN)
GROUP MEMBER AGREEMENT, COVENANT NOT TO SUE, RELEASE OF LIABILITY, WAIVER, AND ASSUMPTION OF RISKS
I, _________________________________ , agree to the following:
- I will read each of the following paragraphs and only add my initials and signature after I am confident that I understand and agree with each statement. I am in no way being rushed to sign this form. I am not completing this form on the same day that I am either requesting or offering assistance with a self rescue.
- The decision to attempt a self rescue can only be made by myself and the people with whom I am climbing in any particular situation. I will not request assistance through the SRAN unless I have made that decision. Even if I have made a decision to attempt a self rescue and have requested assistance through SRAN, I can change my mind at any time and request help from any organization I feel is appropriate. If I responded to a request for help with another person’s self rescue attempt and that person changes their mind and seeks help from a formally organized rescue organization, I will respect that decision and do nothing to interfere with it. I understand that attempting a self rescue rather than requesting help from any officially recognized rescue agency may have serious consequences. I understand and accept the risks associated with that choice. I understand and acknowledge that no one associated with the SRAN can make that decision for me.
- I understand and acknowledge that if I attempt a self rescue, it is up to me to decide what types of assistance I may need. While I can ask others, including those involved with SRAN, for advice about what sort of assistance might be helpful, it is up to me to make the final decision about what is actually needed.
- I understand that any participation in or utilization of the SRAN is voluntary and does not create any sort of duty or contractual obligations between myself and other people involved with the network. I understand and acknowledge that anyone responding to a request for assistance with a self rescue can change their mind and decide to stop providing assistance at any time. If a person responds to a request I make for assistance and then decides that they can’t provide the requested assistance, I have no claim against them, regardless of whether or not they said that they thought they would be able to help beforehand. Even if such a situation results in my sustaining a more serious injury or loss because of delay in requesting help from a different rescue organization, I have no claim against any member of the SRAN, because I understand that such delay is an inherent risk associated with attempting a self rescue either with or without assistance from others. I agree and acknowledge that I have no prerogative to challenge any SRAN member’s decision to discontinue their efforts to provide assistance with any self rescue I may attempt. If I suffer greater injury or loss because of delay occasioned by a SRAN member’s decision to discontinue assistance they previously agreed to provide, I will not pursue any legal action against them or any other member of the SRAN based on the assertion that their decision to withdraw assistance was unreasonable in any way.
- I understand and acknowledge that I must make every decision for myself concerning the acceptance of risks associated with any given situation. While I can ask for advice, it is up to me to evaluate the value of freely offered advice. I understand the need to be honest with myself about my own skills and capacities. I understand that my knowledge and ability to evaluate risks are critical skills that may not be sufficient in a given situation. I understand that if I decide to attempt a self rescue, accept assistance with a self rescue or offer assistance with someone else’s self rescue, it is up to me to decide if I have the ability to properly assess the given risks in a particular situation as well as my ability to assess those risks properly. Just because someone else says something is reasonable does not mean it is reasonable for me.
- As a member, I will do each of the following:
- Provide accurate and up to date information about my abilities, skills and knowledge pertaining to outdoor activities, climbing, rescue and related areas.
- Keep a separate pack handy with clothing appropriate for the season, water, a headlamp, etc..
- Update the SRAN app to change any scheduled priority response periods so that they don’t conflict with periods when I will be significantly less likely to be able to provide assistance because of work, school, family, travel or other issues.
- Will make efforts to take a WFR OR WEMT course if I have not done so previously.
- I will not accept any form of compensation for assistance I may provide with another person’s self rescue. I understand that my participation in providing assistance to others does not obligate them or anyone else to provide me with reciprocal assistance. Even if I have helped several different people, I have no claim against any of those people or anyone else associated with the SRAN if I request assistance and no one responds. Likewise, I understand and acknowledge that even if I have received assistance through the network, I am under no obligation to help with any other person’s self rescue attempt. If I am injured,killed or suffer other loss as a result of my efforts to help someone else, I cannot claim that I was under any obligation or pressure to provide that assistance.
- If I put out a request for assistance with a self rescue through the SRAN app, I will do my best to provide necessary information.
- I understand that the SRAN is not associated with any other organization or agency. There are no agreements or understandings between the SRAN and any government or private entity regarding rescues, medical assistance, land use issues, access issues or anything else. The SRAN is only a tool for speeding the organization and availability of persons willing to offer good Samaritan assistance. The SRAN is not authorized or endorsed by any other agency or organization. I understand and acknowledge that I can not expect to use the SRAN as a resource for locating or contacting an appropriate government or private organization to provide rescue assistance. Although some members may have such information and are free to provide it when requested, the SRAN makes no efforts to keep such contact information up to date.
- I acknowledge, accept and agree that any and all activities associated with either providing another person with assistance in their own self rescue attempt or attempting my own self rescue INVOLVE INHERENT RISKS. I understand and accept that I may be injured, paralyzed, lose a limb, die or suffer many other types of injury or loss as a direct result of attempting a self rescue, accepting assistance with a self rescue from someone in the SRAN or during my efforts to provide someone else with assistance. Risks include weather related exposure, falling rocks, other people making mistakes during a self rescue attempt, etc. I understand and acknowledge that no list of potential risks can cover every possible scenario that might lead to injury or death.
- I, on behalf of myself, my spouse, children, heirs, administrators and assigns, also agree to release and discharge all other persons associated with the SRAN from and against any and all damages, actions, claims and liabilities, whether known or unknown, anticipated or unanticipated, suspected or unsuspected, relating to or arising from any activity, occurrence, or event involving or caused by the passive or active negligence of the those people. This Release is intended to release and discharge all persons associated with the SRAN from all damages, actions, claims and liabilities of any nature, specifically including, but not limited to, damages, actions, claims and liabilities arising from or related to the negligence of the people associated with the SRAN. I further agree to indemnify, hold harmless, and defend all people associated with the SRAN from and against any loss, damage, liability and expense, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred as a result of my or participating in any activity involving the SRAN.
- I understand and acknowledge that one of the risks associated with attempting a self rescue, accepting assistance with a self rescue or offering assistance with another person’s self rescue is the reduced opportunity for collecting compensation from others who make mistakes or act in a manner that might be considered negligent when compared with what I might expect when working with a formally organized or sanctioned rescue organization.
- I understand and acknowledge that requesting assistance through the SRAN means asking for help from people who do not hold themselves out as having any particular expertise or qualifications. I understand that I take the risk that someone may offer help that may not actually be helpful and may make my situation worse than if I had asked for help from a more formally organized organization or even if I had tried to do everything myself.
- I understand and acknowledge that no one involved with the SRAN is precluded from helping someone or receiving help from someone who is not a member of the SRAN.
- The duration of this agreement shall continue until it is canceled or modified by written agreement. The laws of the State of Arizona shall govern the rights and obligations of the parties to this Release and the interpretation, construction, and enforceability thereof. I agree that any lawsuit brought against any person associated with the SRAN shall be brought solely in an Arizona court.
- I HEREBY VOLUNTARILY WAIVE ANY RIGHT I MAY HAVE TO A TRIAL BY JURY IN ANY ACTION, PROCEEDING, OR LITIGATION INVOLVING ANY RELEASED PARTY. THIS RELEASE IS A BINDING LEGAL CONTRACT. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING.
Please print all of the required information legibly
Participant name (please print)_______________________________________________
Date of Birth______________________ Age at date of reading and signing this form:______
City State Zip Code__________________________________________________
Home Telephone Number__________________
Work Telephone Number_________________________________
Email Address (optional) _______________________________
Signature of Participant