"I'm sure that there are some resuers who put the lives of others above
themselves, but everything I've been taught says that the rescue teams
always consider their own safety first. "
Yes they condider their own safety. Howver, we've all seen photos and
videos of rescuers that are still taking substantial risk to their
lives to bail out some idiot. Surely you've seen photos of helicopters
flying in mountains in marginal conditions to rescue someone. Or
photos of the Coast Guard sending a rescue craft out in extreme weather
to try to save people. The story shown in Perfect Storm is a classic
example. A Coast Guard helicopter was sent into a huricane to rescue 3
idiots on a sailboat that never should have been there. The chopper
had to ditch because of the storm, one crew member was seriously
injured, another died.
"Equipment couldn't be a prerequisite for a licence. Presumably it
be an annual licence, and you might sell stuff over the summer, and
something new in winter. "
I don't see how when you buy/sell eqpt has any bearing on requiring you
have a certain set of eqpt on each backcountry trip. The Coast Guard
has reqts for min reqd eqpt for boaters for example.
"As for basing it on a course, anyone can go on a course and take
in. So you'd need to have some form of test.
Yes, that sounds like a good idea.
"And guess what, the experts can get it wrong too. It's not just
brainless kids out there. "
So, this means what? That because requiring some level of training
and proper eqpt isn't worth it because it will only reduce
fatalities/injuries, not entirely eliminate them? That argument was
used about seat belts too, are they a bad idea?
"Plus, who would police it? Would each town or state police force need
backcountry department? How about helicopters patrolling the mountains
to make sure no-ones doing something naughty? Any money required to
implement such a scheme would be better spent on
education and awareness. "
The fines levied would likely pay for the amount of enforcement needed.