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Cell phones, camera's, etc. cause mishaps and false emergencies within national parks

National parks all over the United States have had problems in the past involving visitors being injured by wildlife, touching scalding hot geysers and so on. While incidents like these are bad enough, rangers within the national parks are now saying that technology is a key component that's helping to cause these mishaps. To make matters worse, visitors are using their technology for non emergency-related purposes.

Yellowstone National Park, for example, has had a record number of visitor-related accident's during the month of July, and according to rangers, technology is often to blame. Recently, the park had an issue with a visitor who got a little too close to a buffalo in order to obtain a picture, and it charged toward the woman causing injury.

This isn't the only case where a camera got a visitor into trouble. Just this month, a French teenager fell 75 feet from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon while backing up to take a picture. 

While both of these accidents were careless, they were legitimate emergencies that called for rescuing. What has rangers frustrated with visitors is when they use their technology to call rangers for "emergencies" that are not really emergencies at all.

"Every once in awhile we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them," said Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. "The answer is that you are up there for the night."

Another instance of emergency misuse on a cell phone was when a group of hikers traveled to the Grand Canyon last fall and constantly pressed the emergency rescue button on their electronic device (which does not allow the sender to explain why they're calling for help) and every time the rangers showed up in a helicopter, the group would have an excuse like their water was too salty, or they were short on water. By the third time that this had happened, the group was sent home and the leader was issued a citation. 

Park rangers not only lose time dealing with potential real emergencies when these incidents occur, but they also lose a hefty amount of money. According to Maureen Oltrogge, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park, it costs about $3,400 an hour to send a helicopter into the park. 

"Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued," said Skaggs. 



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Boo hoo
By pheffern on 8/24/2010 8:02:47 AM , Rating: 5
As usual, the problem is not the technology, it's the morons using it. And apparently the whinging of employees of the National Parks.

Perhaps instead of lashing out at the ills of cell phones and emergency call buttons, they should consider how many lives have been saved by the same technology. Suck it up, and take appropriate action against those who abuse the emergecy system.




RE: Boo hoo
By LRonaldHubbs on 8/24/2010 8:32:32 AM , Rating: 5
Exactly. Both of the people mentioned in this article who were injured while taking pictures failed to exercise caution and common sense. The technology didn't cause those incidents, their own stupidity did. Take away the cameras and they probably would have injured themselves some other way.

And idiots that misuse the emergency help button should be billed for the expense of sending the helicopter out. People who misuse the 911 service get fined. This should be no different.


RE: Boo hoo
By SpaceRanger on 8/24/2010 9:39:20 AM , Rating: 5
You could replace the cameras with ones that existed 30 years ago, and the same thing would have happened. Definitely not the fault of technology here.


RE: Boo hoo
By LRonaldHubbs on 8/24/2010 5:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
Good point.


RE: Boo hoo
By ira176 on 8/25/2010 2:16:37 AM , Rating: 3
Technology might have kept the person from taking that last step backward over the edge if they had the proper wide angle lens on their camera.


RE: Boo hoo
By tastyratz on 8/25/2010 9:11:08 AM , Rating: 2
you give them too much credit.
Probably just did not know they could zoom out...


RE: Boo hoo
By Lerianis on 8/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Boo hoo
By Zingam on 8/26/2010 4:22:38 AM , Rating: 2
I remember that a Canadian girl has been eaten by a bear.
She was riding her bike and she saw a bear. She went to the bear to caress it and she was eaten.

Is the bicycle the reason?

It's not the camera the reason it is the idiot who's using it. I've also experienced that when I'm taking pictures I tend to get careless. But the camera cannot be blamed for that.


RE: Boo hoo
By theapparition on 8/24/2010 8:34:07 AM , Rating: 4
+100

Instead of blaming technology, blame the idiots who are wrongly calling for emergencies. Fine those people for wasting resources, but don't try to ban tech for the couple of morons.


RE: Boo hoo
By iNGEN2 on 8/24/2010 11:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
More nanny state responses to nanny state man-children.

<hiker> "Boohoo, I hiked all the way up here while talking on my cellphone. Now I don't remember how to get down and I'm afraid of the dark. Please solve the problem I created so I don't have to bare the consequences of my own actions."

<park ranger> "Don't worry little Sally. We'll just take away that little techno bauble your carrying. You'll still be stupid, but at least now I don't have to hear about it."

The spineless and feeble minded have become the locus of public policy. I fear for my country.


RE: Boo hoo
By Reclaimer77 on 8/24/2010 8:50:47 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Perhaps instead of lashing out at the ills of cell phones and emergency call buttons, they should consider how many lives have been saved by the same technology. Suck it up, and take appropriate action against those who abuse the emergecy system.


Exactly what I was saying. Sorry but the benefits of modern devices FAR outweigh the drawbacks.


RE: Boo hoo
By RicheemxX on 8/24/2010 9:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'd agree with that 100%. IMO the type of missus seen in the Grand Canyon incident should result in a permanent ban from all parks. Those idiots got a small fine compared to the time, money and energy spent trying to "rescue" them.

Now on the flip side I don't agree with this just being whinging of employees of the National Parks. These are rescue teams that we are talking about here. With all the budget cut backs in many cases these people are volunteers and there are far fewer resources to go around.

Now think of this scenario and see how you'd feel: Some idiot is out there calling 911 (or pressing the emergency button) to get basic info/help and using up the limited number of rescuers leaving the teams short handed when a real emergency comes in. Because all your resources are being used elsewhere in no emergence situations someone dies!

I think you might be complain about the misuses of the tech as well!!


RE: Boo hoo
By flatrock on 8/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Boo hoo
By Reclaimer77 on 8/24/2010 1:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
What's with all the <p>'s ?? Makes this super annoying to read.


RE: Boo hoo
By Invane on 8/24/2010 2:13:33 PM , Rating: 4
I also agree. This is not, in my opinion, related to technology at all. This is related to a shift in general populace expectations. They no longer expect to have to be responsible for their own actions or lack of common sense. Instead, someone is supposed to be right there to fix it or they shift the blame to some other person or entity.

However, I do have to disagree with:
quote:
Perhaps instead of lashing out at the ills of cell phones and emergency call buttons, they should consider how many lives have been saved by the same technology. Suck it up, and take appropriate action against those who abuse the emergecy system.


The park rangers have a legitimate complaint. They fully understand that technology has saved lives. However, they also do not have unlimited resources. Every time someone pulls one of these stupid stunts, they could potentially be depriving someone who does need help of those limited resources. Telling them to 'suck it up' is not the correct response.


RE: Boo hoo
By JediJeb on 8/24/2010 2:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
You are right. The term "personal responsibility" seems to be totally lacking from the general population's vocabulary these days. If someone got to the top of a summit and then wanted someone to come lead them down because a storm was coming, they should just be told to start running down hill and get ready to get wet. People need to be responsible for their planning or lack there of in these circumstances. Add a big sign at the bottom that says if you don't prepare for the worse, then prepare to suffer the consequences.


RE: Boo hoo
By Invane on 8/24/2010 3:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but our society is fostering this complete lack of accountability. The minute we allow someone to experience the consequences for a poor personal decision or lack of common sense, that person is being allowed to throw the equivalent of a temper tantrum using our legal system. Every time someone wins one of these frivolous lawsuits, we reinforce the idea that it was someone else's fault for not jumping in to save them from their own idiocy.

Apologies for going a little off topic.


RE: Boo hoo
By Lerianis on 8/25/2010 10:33:00 AM , Rating: 1
Wrong, Invane. The fact is that people do NOT expect to not be responsible for their own actions. They expect to not be bashed upon when they refuse to stay IN THEIR HOMES GETTING FAT!

Seriously, if you go out in the wild, there is a chance that you are going to get hurt, and if you are taking a picture of an animal from 75 METERS away.... there is a chance that they will not like that and charge you!

Getting 'too close' to an animal is a cop-out for these park and rec people, who don't want to do their jobs and don't want to realize that one of the things that people come to the parks for: TO TAKE PICTURES OF WILDLIFE!

With most 'point and shoots' today.... to get a good picture, you got to be pretty damned close to what you are photographing.


RE: Boo hoo
By JediJeb on 8/25/2010 2:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With most 'point and shoots' today.... to get a good picture, you got to be pretty damned close to what you are photographing.


Not really an excuse there, if you want to take a photo of a wild animal invest in better equipment.

quote:
Wrong, Invane. The fact is that people do NOT expect to not be responsible for their own actions. They expect to not be bashed upon when they refuse to stay IN THEIR HOMES GETTING FAT!


The problem here is that those people running outside fail to do some simple research like finding out if standing 50 feet from a Bison to take it's photo is dangerous. Instead most take the stance that they are indestructable and that even nature should bend to their will so they can enjoy it as they please with no respect for the true danger inherant in a natural setting.

Personal responsibility not only means taking the responsibility of planning ahead, but also taking the blame when you screw up instead of trying to pass it off on everyone else.


RE: Boo hoo
By kattanna on 8/24/2010 3:54:59 PM , Rating: 1
agreed!

quote:
touching scalding hot geysers


i just got back from yellowstone myself a couple weeks ago and i can personally attest to this one. standing on the raised wooden platform by the grand prismatic spring and what do i see? people sticking their fingers in the water to see if its actually hot.

i was like, you have got to be shitting me, REALLY??

too bad it was in an area where the waters where cool enough to touch.


RE: Boo hoo
By Lerianis on 8/25/2010 10:40:06 AM , Rating: 1
This isn't stupidity. The fact is that this is COMMON with some people who are TACTILE learners. Seeing something for them is not enough to make them actually believe something.... touching something is.

Now, in some situations that comes back to bite them in the butt, I will admit, but not in most.


RE: Boo hoo
By JediJeb on 8/25/2010 2:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This isn't stupidity. The fact is that this is COMMON with some people who are TACTILE learners. Seeing something for them is not enough to make them actually believe something.... touching something is.


I want to meet the TACTILE learner who just learned to operate a wood chipper.


RE: Boo hoo
By Divide Overflow on 8/24/2010 4:04:17 PM , Rating: 4
For crying out loud, this article is not an attack on technology, nor "whining" by National Park employees. Simply a reminder for people to use their technology sensibly when in the National Parks. The park service has implemented technology in a wide variety of safe and useful ways and will continue to do so.

Get some thicker skin before you take this as "lashing out" at the ills of cell phone misuse and the like. At least you suggest targeting those who abuse the system. The appropriate action against them in the general media is a cautionary reminder just like this article serves.


RE: Boo hoo
By Treknologist on 8/24/2010 5:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
I have to say that the people who blame technology for these problems are in the same caliber as the morons who get involved in these incidents. Technology is neither inherently good or bad...people either use technology properly or they don't.


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