Originally Posted by atokad
I was mainly thinking that such a remote area would would warrant a flight if 911 were dispatched via a Spot. If it had been an immediate life threatening situation, it seems to me that the ground response of 70-90 minutes was kind of long. I don't know the area but perhaps to dispatch the flight team and chopper may have been just as long.
The issue in remote areas in the west is that the places where it would be really nice to have helicopter evac readily available they are least likely. Search and Rescue is generally run by counties (often the sheriff with volunteers) and the cost of a chopper is prohibitive. There are quite a few counties many times the size of Rhode Island with populations less than 10,000 and much of the land is federal. So, no tax base to fund services. Any helicopter is going to be state police or Nationl Guard and might be several hours flight away.
70-90 minute response is amazing in the desert. In lots of places a 911 call to your home might be 45 minutes or more.
I have no illusions that my SPOT or a sat phone would get me a 30 minute response. My hope is that it might turn a 24 hour wait into 6-12 hours. Or at the very least make it easier to find my body.
Rural EMS have plenty to do responding to the problems of locals. A call from a distant call center that their customer, let's call him "Beemer Bill" (Bob's cousin), sent a call for help for unspecified reasons is not a priority above a sick kid or car accident. There have been a number of cases of SPOT users crying wolf nd that does not help. Look for the story about the hikers in the Grand Canyon a few years ago.
The bottom line is that a call to the local sheriffs personal phone and him summoning a helicoptor to come get still might take 3-5 hours to get you help. That is the reality. Ride accordingly and bring skilled friends you trust.