Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy the card?
It is available for online purchase only at Rescue.utah.gov
Will I receive a physical card that I can put in my wallet?
No, there is not a physical card. The USARA "card" is an electronic or printed proof of purchase. We recommend that program participants keep the proof of purchase in electronic or hard copy form until the card expires.
Is the USARA card program only available to Utah residents?
The program is for residents and visitors alike. The card is available to Utah residents, U.S. residents, and foreign nationals. Purchasers must be 18 years of age or older.
How long is the card good for?
The card is available as a one-year card and as a five-year card (for a discounted rate). The one- and five-year terms start on the date of purchase. The card expires at midnight of the day one year after the purchase date. For example, a purchase that takes place Oct. 14, 2015 would expire at midnight, Oct. 14, 2016.
What is considered a "Family" for USARA card purposes?
A family card includes the purchaser and a spouse or partner, and children or step-children, aged 21 years or younger, as of the date of purchase. It does not include dogs or other domesticated animals.
Do I have to actually have the card with me when I am rescued?
You don't have to physically possess the card at the rescue scene, but you do need to produce your proof of purchase after the rescue operation completion.
Keep the receipt, either in a printed or electronic form, to provide proof of purchase. If you are from outside of the state, please provide proof of your USARA card purchase before leaving the state.
Are my own expenses eligible for reimbursement under the program?
The program is designed to reimburse costs incurred by county entities, not those incurred by individuals. For example, if you lose your skis in a backcountry accident, the USARA program will not cover replacement costs of your gear.
Isn't the USARA card a form of insurance?
No, the USARA card is NOT insurance and the card holder or individual being rescued is solely responsible for all health care and medical costs associated with a search and rescue. When you purchase a USARA card, and you are in need of rescue, the non-medical costs that are incurred by the search and rescue (SAR) team on your behalf are eligible for reimbursement.
The cost of planes or helicopters used in the SAR operation - for an aerial search, transport of rescuers and equipment, and the like - are eligible for reimbursement to the county entity.
Medical transportation to medical facilities is considered a health insurance expense. Check with your health insurance to see if medical transport, such as a life flight or ground ambulance, is adequately covered in your health plan.
Are there some situations in which USARA card holders could still be charged for a SAR operation's costs?
Yes, a person may be liable for response expenses, if such a person recklessly or intentionally creates a situation requiring an emergency response. In other words, if the county sheriff deems an individual has behaved recklessly or intentionally, that individual may still be liable for response expenses, whether or not they purchased a USARA card.
Definition of terms:
- A person acts recklessly when he or she engages in highly unreasonable conduct, involving extreme departure from ordinary care, in a situation where a high degree of danger is apparent.
- A person, who intentionally takes actions to incur a SAR response, is one who has done it purposefully or deliberately, not accidentally or involuntarily.
Does the full cost of card purchase go to the Search and Rescue Fund?
Almost all of the proceeds from the sale of the USARA cards go into the state-administered Search and Rescue fund which is used to reimburse costs incurred by SAR teams within the State of Utah. A modest transaction fee goes to the vendor for merchant card fees and for administering the website.
How do I contact the local Sheriff if I am in need of emergency help?
Here's a list of the sheriff offices in Utah's 29 counties.
If I don't have a card, can I still call for help if I need it?
The Utah Search and Rescue Assistance card is not an insurance card. The search and rescue teams will always come to your aid as soon as the rescue can be performed safely. The money from USARA cards provides the financial support to county sheriffs' offices throughout the state. In 2015, county search and rescue teams performed nearly 40,000 hours of SAR work. While the fund does not reimburse the volunteer SAR teams and paid personnel for their time, it does ensure that the search and rescue teams will have the training and equipment needed to perform the rescues safely.
Can companies (such as outfitters) and organizations (such as scout troops) sign up for the program?
At the moment, the USARA card is available solely to individuals and families. The sheriff's board is evaluating expansion of the program to other users in the future.