LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are many reasons why Kauai County Councilman Mason Chock is introducing legislation that could make people pay for being rescued in Kauai County.
Accountability is one of them.
"We've seen situations where people should think twice about what they're doing and have really not done so" he said by phone Monday.
The amendment to an existing ordinance that would make hikers pay for search and rescue operations if they ignored warning or no-trespass signs.
"Instead of gross negligence its actually intentional disregard for safety which would come into alignment with the state" he said.
Chock notes the legislation would make county and state codes more cohesive since many of the rescues occur on state land--such as Hanakapiai trail.
Also, it would help defray the costs of search and rescue operations that are multi-organizational. The county pegged helicopter rescue costs at almost 20 thousand dollars last year--but Chock said there are
even more hidden costs.
"On the ground, incident command systems are in place, you need emergency services activated so that means an ambulance is typically standing by in case there are casualties. The police will need to get involved,
there's a need for a safety perimeter to be set. There may be a need to coordinate closing specific trails so the state DLNR may need to get involved”.
Above all else, Chock says its common sense legislation.
"I think the message is clear, we need people to take a little bit more conscious look at what they're doing and how they're doing it".