HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Dec. 19, 2005

Ignoring storm warmings will cost in Meeker County

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Meeker County travelers who ignore winter storm warnings and advisories might be putting not only their lives at risk, but also their money.

People who are lost or stranded might have to pay for their rescue and recovery, according to the Meeker County Sheriff’s office.

“Following a declared winter storm and snow emergency, or an advisory by the sheriff and engineer to not travel, all people who should have had reasonable knowledge or reason to anticipate their danger...and for whom rescue is required because they are out of any shelter and lost or stranded...may be required to pay the full cost of rescue,” according to Meeker County Sheriff Mike Hirman. He also is the director of emergency management for the county.

The full cost will include wages of individuals, hourly cost of vehicles and equipment, towing charges and damages to public equipment.

“Travel at your own risk. It does cost,” said the sheriff’s office.

Wright County doesn’t charge for rescue but individual fire departments may charge, depending on what city is involved, said Lt. Dan Anselment of Wright County.

Extricating vehicles or other such services are done on a private basis. The sheriff’s office generally deals with the human factor. It will rescue animals, such as when a dog breaks through the ice, though, he said.

Rescues of this type, such as ones where people venture out against good judgement, does involve overtime.

“It does cost money,” Anselment said.

However, the cost is covered by taxes collected in Wright County, he said.

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