Colorado Search and Rescue Board
Policy on Charging for Search and Rescue Services
- At no time, and in no manner, should an individual member of a volunteer search and rescue organization benefit monetarily from rendering emergency service to the subject of a search, rescue or recovery effort.
- Volunteer search and rescue organizations will not charge for services they provide pursuing or in support of search, rescue or recovery operations; and no request for payment or reimbursement by other agencies or third parties should attribute any portion of the amount requested to any volunteer search and rescue organization.
- Volunteer search and rescue organizations may call upon the services of other organizations which routinely do charge, and for which services a victim would normally consider to be customary to be charged. Such services might include rescue or medical helicopters such as Flight for Life or AirLife, ambulance services, or delivery of a victim into the care of a physician, clinic or hospital.
- Volunteer search and rescue organizations may obligate themselves for extraordinary expenses with the expectation that the victim or his/her family will reimburse them only if the victim, or family, has given prior approval to the particular arrangement. This circumstance will be rare because usually either limited time will preclude obtaining such approval, or there will be sufficient time to permit the family to contract directly for such services.
- Volunteer search and rescue organizations are not opposed in principle to requests made by themselves, sheriff’s departments or other agencies, for reimbursement for actual extraordinary expenses incurred by the organization, department or agency; provided that such a request is clearly an appeal based upon a perceived moral obligation under particular circumstances, and that it is not a demand for payment nor apparently based upon either legal right or routine policy. Any such requests should be made privately and not publicized, so the victims and their families are not embarrassed, and so the general public does not infer that such requests for reimbursement are routinely made.
- Volunteer search and rescue organizations will actively oppose and disassociate themselves from any effort to enforce collection of expenses from a victim or his family, and from any effort to obtain statutory or other legal authority to do so.