Sheriff’s department offers hiking tips, warns of possible rescue costs
Effective Aug. 30, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department can seek search and rescue costs from those rescued in the backcountry who became lost or injured as a result of violating federal, state, or local laws.
That would include a rescue operation performed because of illegal drinking, the sheriff’s department said.
In a public safety message, Lt. James Bovet of the Sheriff’s Ramona station reminds hikers that permits are required to visit Cedar Creek Falls and alcohol and cliff jumping are not allowed. The west-end trailhead for the falls is in San Diego County Estates, at the end of Thornbush Road.
Since 2011, Bovet said, 50 rescues have been performed from the Cedar Creek Falls area.
Bovet’s mesage on YouTube can be viewed at goo.gl/IDJHIW. Also on YouTube is a Cleveland National Forest safety message on Cedar Creek Falls at goo.gl/cJBWwl, and an overview of that area, highlighting its challenges, at goo.gl/py3KN6.
“Ill-equipped and reckless hikers put a strain on Sheriff’s Department resources and budget. When deputies and ASTREA are tied up in a search and rescue call, they are not able to respond to other emergencies or follow up in their own investigations,” the department said in a news release.
Anyone with an emergency should not wait to call 9-1-1 as the longer the wait, the more difficult the rescue becomes, the Sheriff’s department adds.
In July the county Board of Supervisors amended county ordinance 364.1 to allow for a civil process to collect up to $12,000 in search and rescue recovery expenses from those who break the law. Law breakers can also be arrested or cited for criminal offenses, said the Sheriff’s Department.
With Labor Day weekend here and warm weather, the Sheriff’s Department offers these safety tips:
•Tell someone you are going hiking or caving, where, and when you expect to return. This is to ensure if something goes wrong and you don’t return on time, someone knows where to begin the search.
•Never go caving or hiking alone.
•Know your limits. Choose trails that match your level of physical fitness and areas where you are not going to get lost.
•Bring ample food, water, sunscreen, flashlight, map, GPS, first aid kit, multi-purpose tool or knife, and whistle.
•Cell phone signal may be limited, but it’s still good to have a phone in case you need to call for help.
•Wear proper clothing, boots, sunglasses, hat, gloves, and helmet.
- Sheriff stages weekend safety detail at Cedar Creek Falls
- Fire department aids Cedar Creek, Three Sisters hikers
- ASTREA rescues female hikers from Cedar Creek Falls trail
- Searchers rescue two hikers near Cuyamaca Peak
- Woman, 19, dies at Cedar Creek Falls; sheriff issues heat warning
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