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Pennsylvania Department of Health wants to Regulate Ski Patrols - Page 2

post #31 of 51

According to the article, the state's emergency medical services bureau has been working quietly with the Pennsylvania Ski Patrol to get the volunteer patrollers certified and thus far has certified about 60% of them statewide.  Now the National Ski Patrol is butting in with the bogus claim that  the "change could lead volunteers to walk away from the patrol and force ski areas to pay for the service"  huh? 

 

Seems to me that the NSP is flinging a load of BS here.  I have a lot of respect for the patrollers  that I've met (volunteer and pro), and I don't think a single one of them would quit over an additional certification.  Who are these patrollers whose dedication is so low that they'd walk away that easily?  

post #32 of 51
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

Bob,

Your counter point 1, I did not refer to the federal goverment in any way.

 

Other than this?:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

...This should be the responsibilty of the "private business" not the state or federal goverment. 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

...Your counter point 2, I did not refer to to patrol as being a "private security force", 

 

Other than this?:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

...All Ski Area Operators have the ability to hire and provide the security force they feel is appropriate for their "private area",..

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

Your point 3 brings in the issues of having different states with different standards for different services(private vs public) trying to certify a organization that serves in multiple states, and some ski areas (as previously pointed out in this thread) have bountry's in different states.

 

That previous example being sited as a serious issue was pretty ridiculous.  It shouldn't be any problem for different states to certify patrol procedures, if they choose to certify patrols.   

 

Look, when I was a federal wildland firefighter and manager, we had to have certifications (driving, medical, etc.) in some states that were easily recognized or accepted in other states.  CDL drivers' licenses for example.  A simple MOU is often all that's required.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

...If you are suggesting standardizing the EMS service - ok I guess I am not suggesting this at all, but I am recognizing the National Ski Patrol is a national organization providing a "First Responder to a medical emergency" where it fits a ski/rec area needs.

 

I'm not suggesting standardizing anything, I'm just saying that the State of Pennsylvania doing some oversight of EMS services at ski areas may not be the big deal that some people seem to think it is.  Seems like a moot point however, given the latest news, but you started back in on me.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

According to the article, the state's emergency medical services bureau has been working quietly with the Pennsylvania Ski Patrol to get the volunteer patrollers certified and thus far has certified about 60% of them statewide.  Now the National Ski Patrol is butting in with the bogus claim that  the "change could lead volunteers to walk away from the patrol and force ski areas to pay for the service"  huh? 

 

Seems to me that the NSP is flinging a load of BS here.  I have a lot of respect for the patrollers  that I've met (volunteer and pro), and I don't think a single one of them would quit over an additional certification.  Who are these patrollers whose dedication is so low that they'd walk away that easily?  


Uh oh, the public's here!  Someone wake up that sleeping 'troller and pull down that poster of the Lange grrl.  

post #33 of 51
Quote:

Uh oh, the public's here!  Someone wake up that sleeping 'troller and pull down that poster of the Lange grrl.  

 

 

Hey, what do youze guy do wid all them ropes? Can I go for a ride in the sled?

post #34 of 51



Perhaps you are not familiar with how PA regulates things. Most of the regulation they do goes way beyond "making sure basic oversight is provided". As someone who has dealt with various PA agencys in the IT field, the level they take basic oversight to is beyond what I think you are comprehending it to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

I'm not suggesting standardizing anything, I'm just saying that the State of Pennsylvania doing some oversight of EMS services at ski areas may not be the big deal that some people seem to think it is.   

post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

 

Hey, what do youze guy do wid all them ropes? Can I go for a ride in the sled?



Hey Walt, We use dem ropes for hangmans nooses - after arresting, trying, and convicting out of control skiers!!  LOL;  You betcha I will take you for a "ride" in dat sled, just you tell me you tink you leg is broke. LOL

 

Bob,

Interesting that you give examples of 1 Federally Mandated Certification (not state) and 1 State Mandated License. Your example's of CDL and Medical,

 

If states refuse to recognize a CDL they lose Federal Highway Funds. But, in addition to CDL requirements, you are still held to all State Individual Highway Laws where you are driving.

 

Medical licenseing

question.jpg (3548 bytes)     How long does it take to obtain a state medical license?

answer.jpg (3531 bytes)     That depends on the state that you are interested in and your credentials.  Some state boards license as soon as your file is complete, while other state boards meet and approve physicians for license only monthly or bi-monthly.  Obviously, these states would take longer.  Other things can effect the time required to obtain your license, such as the number of practice or staff privilege locations in your history, or the number of state licenses you hold.  Most boards require written verification of all of these, and the speed in which all of these reach the state board can have an impact on the time required to obtain your license.  We will do everything within our power to make sure your supporting documents arrive at the state board and you are licensed as quickly as possible 

 

 Seems to me the a Federal License would make more sense. But States have "State Rights" and they can extract licenseing fees as they see fit.

 

post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

 Seems to me the a Federal License would make more sense. But States have "State Rights" and they can extract licenseing fees as they see fit.

 

 

Agree that one nationwide standard would be easier for everyone - it really is a drain on business to have to deal with 50 different sets of regulations.  This isn't just for ski patrol, it applies to more or less everything.

 

BTW, ski lifts are regulated individually by each state. No doubt this explains why there aren't any volunteer lift operators. (c:

post #37 of 51

I understand that Walt. and the great state of the Wolverines is now regulating snowmobiles in ski areas. - You can't hear the required beeper because of the engine noise. You gotta love it. LOL But the state (paid) inspector checks them anyways.

post #38 of 51


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post

I understand that Walt. and the great state of the Wolverines is now regulating snowmobiles in ski areas. - You can't hear the required beeper because of the engine noise. You gotta love it. LOL But the state (paid) inspector checks them anyways.

 

Yes, they are regulating the use snowmobiles on the slopes. And do you know why?

 

Hint: it has something to do with snowmobile operators running over and killing the patrons.

 

Kirk Pinho May 16, 2007 - The parents of a 7-year-old Bloomfield Township boy who was killed in February when he was struck by a snowmobile driven by a worker at the Alpine Valley Ski Area in White Lake Township are suing not only the 60-year-old Waterford Township man who was driving the snowmobile but also the ski area itself, according to documents obtained through the Oakland County Clerk's/Register of Deeds office last week.

Marc G. Vachon and Anne G. Vachon, parents of Timothy Vachon, are being represented by the Googasian law firm, based out of Bloomfield Hills. They claim in the lawsuit that the snowmobile was negligently and/or reckless operated by Dennis Paul Tonkovich, an Alpine Valley ski patroller, when the vehicle struck Timothy Vachon on Feb. 3. The suit claims that the amount in controversy is "well in excess of the $25,000 jurisdictional limit, exclusive of costs, interest and attorneys fees." Damages requested include covering funeral and burial expenses; compensation for "the pain, suffering, fright and shock that Timmy experienced as a result of the accident and his injuries prior to his death;" compensation for losses suffered by the boy's surviving family members; and punitive and/or exemplary damages.

At the time of the incident, the suit alleges, Timothy Vachon was skiing at Alpine Valley as part of a ski school program and, at all times, he was wearing an approved safety helmet and skiing responsibly and under control. Heading towards the lodge to meet his parents, Timothy Vachon was struck by a snowmobile driven by Tonkovich.

The suit claims the snowmobile was not equipped with emergency flashing lights, a siren, and/or other warning devices. In addition, according to court documents, the operator was accelerating the snowmobile at a high rate of speed along the bottom of the ski slope and in front of the lodge, weaving through and around a large number of young skiers. As that was occurring, a number of skiers allegedly "scrambled to avoid being run over." Tonkovich allegedly made no evasive actions and was still accelerating at the time the snowmobile collided with the boy, the suit claims.

According to staff in the county clerk's office, as of Friday, May 11, the defendants had yet to formally respond to the lawsuit. Calling Alpine Valley's Snowline yielded a recorded message stating that the ski area was closed for the season. The recording did not provide an opportunity to leave messages seeking comment.

 

 

The new rules are here.  Perhaps you would like to enlighten us as to why they are so onerous?  IIRC, they were patterned after the Colorado regs.

post #39 of 51

The suit claims the snowmobile was not equipped with emergency flashing lights, a siren, and/or other warning devices. In addition, according to court documents, the operator was accelerating the snowmobile at a high rate of speed along the bottom of the ski slope and in front of the lodge, weaving through and around a large number of young skiers. As that was occurring, a number of skiers allegedly "scrambled to avoid being run over." Tonkovich allegedly made no evasive actions and was still accelerating at the time the snowmobile collided with the boy, the suit claims.

 

The new rules are herePerhaps you would like to enlighten us as to why they are so onerous?  IIRC, they were patterned after the Colorado regs. 

 

I guess you are looking for a response from me on this - I'll try. (I am aware of the incident you brought up)

I am a patroller in Mi. NOT AT THE AREA WHERE THIS OCCURRED.

My comments are:  

I have taken "viewed the required 20 minute snowmobile operation video"  training once per season for the last 2 years, and signed the form stating I have. Approved Light and Beeper have been added to snowmobiles at the area.

Would the required training, beeper (not siren) and light have prevented this "Accident"?

The Mi. inspector has been to the area where I patrol to inspect the condition on the snowmobiles, I believe he also checked the paper the patrollers and other area personnel signed, stating they had viewed the required training video for proper operation of snowmobiles.

Inspection outcome: All required procedures and safety devices in place.

 

Snowmobiles are provided by the ski areas not the NSP, responsible operation of these can/do reduce the number of patrollers needed to provide proper extrication of injured skiers/boarders from the hill in a expeditious manner.

 

As in many organizations "there are people that act irresponsibly" I believe dealing with these acts directly would be much more effective way to mitigate these problems. What I don't know is: Was this act deliberate and had similar actions at this area be allowed to occur prior to this accident ? - I guess this is where the courts come in.

 

post #40 of 51

Doesn't this come down to the states looking for revenue? Medical licenses are renewed every 2 years for a fee. That is why they are renewed. Same with insurance credentials. Because these companies and agencies and governments want money. Doctor's information is a matter of public record in a gazillion places by the time we finish our training, yet we have to fill out thousands of forms, often on paper rather than electronically, every year. Why? Because if someone is going to ask you for $500 to "register" you, they think it looks more appropriate if it looks like they have to do lots of stuff. If there is an organization of people who are not under government regulation, and there is money to be had by instituting or broadening certifications or regulations, then governments will find it. All the easier to justify if there is some kind of "public safety enhancement." Who doesn't want their public safety enhanced? And when anyone complains you will get the responses with the undertone of "come on, its from a bunch of guys who ski all day..." I am having a very cynical day...

post #41 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post


Would the required training, beeper (not siren) and light have prevented this "Accident"?


As in many organizations "there are people that act irresponsibly" I believe dealing with these acts directly would be much more effective way to mitigate these problems. What I don't know is: Was this act deliberate and had similar actions at this area be allowed to occur prior to this accident ? - I guess this is where the courts come in.

 

 

I have no way of knowing for sure if the current rules would have prevented this accident.  I wasn't there, and all I know about it is what I read in the papers.  I also think the article I cited is rather one-sided, being based on the (unproven) claims of the plaintiff without the other side of the story.  If it transpired as as described, then it appears that the snowmobile driver was disobeying the (current) rules, so the rules might have prevented it had the driver followed them.  Of course, having rules and getting people to follow them are different things, but having rules is a start.

 

You are correct that the best way to deal with "people who act irresponsibly" is to deal with them directly.  If someone is skiing out of control, as Patrol you should talk to them individually and tell them to knock it off.  Of course, having the skier's code as a "rulebook" helps back up your case considerably.  Similarly with the new snowmobile rules.

 

My personal anecdotal experience is that it has helped at least one resort considerably. Until recently at the Highlands, they seemed to hire young kids who would spend the entire day bombing around on snowmobiles.  I once watched one cruise for hours without ever doing anything that I could discern as meaningful work - he was just cruising.  These were not patrollers, just resort employees, and they were a menace on the slopes.  They don't do this anymore, and I'm glad for it.

 

We've gotten a bit off topic here; my point is that the new on-slope snowmobile regulations are not an example of frivilous or needless government meddling, but a very positive thing.  A flag, a light, and a beeper for each sled, plus a speed limit and requiring the resort to have a written policy is just not that big an intrusion on the resort's operation, and it does help from a safety standpoint.

 

Where do you patrol?  I've probably skied there.

post #42 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Doesn't this come down to the states looking for revenue?

 

No.

 

This has been another in a series of simple answers to simple questions.

post #43 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

We've gotten a bit off topic here; my point is that the new on-slope snowmobile regulations are not an example of frivilous or needless government meddling, but a very positive thing.  A flag, a light, and a beeper for each sled, plus a speed limit and requiring the resort to have a written policy is just not that big an intrusion on the resort's operation, and it does help from a safety standpoint.

 


Agreed. Like I said... having a cynical day...

post #44 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Agreed. Like I said... having a cynical day...

 

Well, sometimes it is about the money - speed traps, parking fines, etc. are sometimes used more for revenue generation than for law enforcement.  I just don't think that's the case here.

post #45 of 51


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Doesn't this come down to the states looking for revenue?

 

 

No.

 

This has been another in a series of simple answers to simple questions.


PA is hurting financially right now and are certainly looking for ways to make money. They are facing a $3 billion dollar transportation shortfall and are cracking down on all kinds of things. Of course I can't say for sure that is the reason, but in a good economy do you think they would be considering this legislation.

post #46 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

PA is hurting financially right now and are certainly looking for ways to make money. They are facing a $3 billion dollar transportation shortfall and are cracking down on all kinds of things. Of course I can't say for sure that is the reason, but in a good economy do you think they would be considering this legislation.


How much do you think they can expect to clear on this scheme?  Serious question.  

post #47 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


How much do you think they can expect to clear on this scheme?  Serious question.  


I don't think this is a solution to any problems, but if they regulate a bunch of things they bring in needed money. The state is hurting right now. I worked as an IT Tech for a school district until last June, the cuts in state funding was part of the reason that led to me not being there anymore (another factor is the low pay and lack of benefits they provide to employees because of said lack of funding). The school had to cut the IT budget to 40% of what it normally was because of cuts to state funding. I was talking to another network admin at a neighboring school district. His budget was almost cut in half as well. The state is doing all kinds of things to get money--like the proposed expansion of sales tax to 76 more categories and the removal of the 1% reimbursement to aide businesses in covering administrative costs incurred in collecting said tax--I just see this as another revenue source the state is looking at. I see them collecting more money in fines than in the actual certification process. It would be just like how the state police work now. They need some operating funds so they go out and start gunning people on the highway, they get their money and then they quit gunning until they need more money. With 176 pages of legislation it would be very easy for them to come in and find an section the ski area is not obliging to and slap a fine on them. So I don't think I can come up with a hard number.

post #48 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

I don't think this is a solution to any problems, but if they regulate a bunch of things they bring in needed money. [...mercy snip...] So I don't think I can come up with a hard number.


Uh huh.  Clearly you've been thinking some about this so just give us something in the ballpark.  It's a fascinating concept.  

post #49 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


Uh huh.  Clearly you've been thinking some about this so just give us something in the ballpark.  It's a fascinating concept.  



If you read the in between part you would understand why I can't come up with a hard figure. If I said tell me how much money your local police force is going to make off of speeding tickets this month you couldn't really estimate that either, it would depend on how often the police chief decided to send people out.

post #50 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

If you read the in between part you would understand why I can't come up with a hard figure. If I said tell me how much money your local police force is going to make off of speeding tickets this month you couldn't really estimate that either, it would depend on how often the police chief decided to send people out.


Unfortunately I did read the in between part.  I only asked for ballpark.  Here's my angle: I know that speeding tickets run from $100 to $200 (or more) a pop.  How much would you estimate that Pennsylvania DoH would get per patroller per year?  The article linked upthread stated that there were like 2000 patrollers in PA (and 1200 were already certified).  

 

I'll give you a hint: it costs me $25 every two years to renew my EMT license.  Doesn't seem to me like the state stands to make much in the way of operating costs off of patrollers through certification.  

post #51 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

 If I said tell me how much money your local police force is going to make off of speeding tickets this month you couldn't really estimate that either..

 

My local police force writes about 1100 "hazardous" moving violations a month.  The individual fines vary, but average about $100.  So that's about $110,000 a month in fines.

 

That took about 5 minutes of Google searching.

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