David, I think we are on the same page. My request to NOAA is not to go to the extreme of considering helicopters immediately (unless of course they want to use a government helicopter). my request is telling them to consider a PLB button push a request to send help via slower, safer methods unless the communication is SOS like (on/off/on/off). Why would you find the use of PLB to send 2 types of signals more offensive than one that only sends 1 type of signal? To me, the rescue service should have taken advantage of just what type of communication can be rendered via PLB -- via time-toggleing, one can communicate the urgency severity of the crisis which I think any receiving station would want to know.
Continuing, if one sends a low-level help message then, and the government instead goes overboard and sends an immediate high price helicopter service out and tries to stick me with the bill, at that point, its the billing agency coming after you in court for payment, so why would I not have the right to defend myself stating that all I asked for was a low level emergency response -- why would me telling the judge the truth be offensive to you? I don't think you're hearing me out or being fair to my position here. Would you expect me to just say "okay, so what, I'll pay the $15,000 for the rendering of assistance to the injured hiker who needed medical attention but not so immediate it had to be done by helicopter."
As far as the comment about insurance, absolutely, I think it should be offered. I like the Colorado plan. I work for an insurance company.
If I was trying to sneak something by the government, I don't think I'd be going overboard to explore the nuances like I am, and I have called just about every agency. I'm awaiting a response from the Inyo County Sheriff Department SAR Office now.
I just think that hey, just because a PLB can only send the equivalent of a "1", it also can send the equivalent of a "0" by going "off", and once you get into combinations of "1" and "0", it is the same as morse code and hence, why not have a PLB act as least as intelligent as the old morse code system.
Greg, your idea to turn all decision making over to the family, I feel that should be left to the rescue team, the family may not be reachable and the rescue team has that option anyway. And why would the family know anything more to do than experts? They'd be clueless what to do. I'm just stating that using a toggle system, the PLB device can be more meaningful to the rescue center letting them know how severe the situation is, which is something currently not feasible (but it's certainly possible if pre-arranged and agreed upon).