In town 911 can get police or fire to your location in minutes. In the wilderness response time is much greater.
An example timeline:
Sunday – Middle of July – 85 degrees, 0% chance of rain inSnohomish
1pm – You get a twisted ankle from shoes without proper supporton Heather Lake, an easy rated trail.
2pm – Your fellow hiker makes it down to the ranger station and calls 911
2:15pm SNOPAC advises the SAR deputy after locating the on-call deputy.
2:30pm SCVSAR Begins to assess mobilization needs
3pm – SCVSAR Pages out all resources needed – Litter Pack Out (Meaning you need to strapped into a litter board, on your back and carried down the mountain)
4pm – The hasty team (the ones who run to you, a team of 2-4 rescuers) arrives at trail-head, is briefed from the SAR deputy and is sent up trail.
4:45pm The hasty team reaches you, assesses your injury is too great to walk you down and due to lack of food, water and your cottonclothing you are now in hypothermia.
5pm Team 2 (4 additional rescuers) is sent up trail with a litter-board anda means to heat you up.
530pm Team 3 (3 additional rescuers, 1 paramedic) is sent up with the wheel for the litter, the litter straps, and some packaging.
6pm Team 4 (4 additional rescuers) is sent up with packaging (blankets and padding)
7pm The sun has set, the rescuers reassess the conditions changing.
8pm You are strapped in and the teams start your assent down the trail. Even though you are in pain, we can not give you any medications, due to risk of complications so far from the hospital.
8:15pm Due to the litter pack, 3 more teams of 4 are sent up to make sure the existing teams don’t get tired and cause an injury.
9pm Rain begins as you are at a higher-elevation, even though it is light, the rescuers reassess the conditions changing as one small slip can cause you or a team member an injury. The rescue group leader slows pace due to a SAR GAR amber rated terrain (more caution needed).
12:30am Command calls for the ambulance, due to the teams estimated arrival in 20-40 minutes.
1amYou are at the trail head. The majority of the rescuers get dinner and something warm to drink.
1:30am The aid car was dispatched from Granite Falls, and took longer as the other closer ones were already in-service for other calls.
2:15am You are now on the ambulance and are in route to the hospital.
3:30am Providence admits you.
As you can see from the above, planning and taking the 10 essentials with you can make either a simple injury not happen, or if it does much less painful. If you have aspirin, in your pack you can take it; if you have extra clothing and food, you can keep warm and out of hypothermia.
Without planning a 3 hour hike turns into a 15 hour hike. If you want to know if your gear is proper, please contact us, your local wilderness goods store, or one of the many wilderness groups in the area.