1. #1
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    Default Wildland Search & Rescue

    I am search & rescue coordinator here in my county and I'd love to hear from any of you with experience in ground-based search and rescue.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    There are bears and wolves in the wild.

    We drill monthly with our county departments, wide area search being one of the county teams functions (not to many wide areas in the city). We have been getting profficient with GPS and command and control functions.

    Just about any rescuer can perform wide area search, if equiped to deal with whatever elements mother nature hands out. The key to wide area search is the ICS portion of the pie. Being able to coordinate the search efforts utilizing a unified command with multiple agencies and types (police, fire, ems, USAR, volunteer agencies, and so on). Being able to track what has been covered in a Recon, hasty search, and primary searches and directing search parties to unsearched areas.

    A good training is witness interveiws and identifying clues, being able to formulate a report from an interview or clues found, transmit of information to the ops center and dissemination back down to other rescuers.

    Are you looking for anything specific?
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    Well, Ohio now has fewer bears and wolves in the wild.

    What I've found in my several years at this position is that there is nowhere near the community of knowledge on the internet that there is for fire service, EMS, and other forms of technical rescue. That doesn't surprise me, because there aren't nearly as many SAR incidents as these other types.

    But that doesn't change my need for them. I would like to know about how to develop a free-standing SAR team so that I don't have to tie up 40 firefighters to do a search. I'd like to know more about searching for drowning victims, especially from flash floods.

    Basically, the SAR version of Firehouse.com!
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    I've been involved in wilderness ground SAR for nearly 20 years in the mid-Atlantic region and in WA state. Outside of the national parks, SAR teams composed of paid personnel are extremely uncommon. Most SAR teams are volunteer and their (free) services are requested through agencies such as state DEM, state police, or local law enforcement. Here in WA state the county sheriff is responsible (by state law) for maintaining a SAR capability. Some of the county SAR teams in WA state call themselves "Sheriff Search and Rescue", but in reality they are independent teams (with their own internal training programs and finances) that are requested at the discretion of law enforcement.

    GOOGLE "search and rescue" and you'll find many volunteer SAR teams ranging from the northeast to Alaska. I would personally try to contact people in the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference, the Mountain Rescue Association, and the various Explorer SAR units (there are active ESAR units based in Columbia MD and King County WA) for advice on how to form a SAR capability from volunteers.

    Your best bet might be to work with the other county SAR coordinators in your state. Maybe they already have a trained volunteer SAR capability that can help train a team in your county, or maybe they might be interested in forming a statewide volunteer SAR capability. Talk to your state DEM to find out what volunteer SAR resources the state already has. Talk to people in Virginia state DEM, who have oodles experience running a state SAR program with volunteer teams.

    You'll find many volunteer SAR models, with varying degrees of volunteer involvement in the ICS side of SAR. In some jurisdictions (notably VA) volunteer personnel are trained in search management and the legal responsible agency is more than happy to let them to manage the incident. In some jurisdictions the legal responsible agency prefers to have its commisioned people do the search management. In my experience, most legal responsible agencies (including the SAR deputy in my county) prefer to let the trained volunteers manage the incident.

    Bottom line: You're going to have to entice community members to form a SAR team and arrange to have the first batch of volunteers trained. Training later batches of volunteers will be a breeze once you have volunteers with decades of experience.

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    Servantleader noted a lot of good resources. I think you'll find that there is a much larger body of SAR-related info out there than you think. It is perhaps a bit more "hidden" than Firehouse.com, but it is there...

    New Mexico has a robust system. You can find a lot more info at http://www.nmsarc.org/.

    California's Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) has a lot of guidelines you may find useful (http://www.calema.ca.gov/LawEnforcem...uidelines.aspx). A sample agency MOU is included in the links.

    As Servantleader noted, the Mountain Rescue Association (http://www.mra.org/) is a very good resource. MRA teams have a heavy emphasis on mountain and technical rescue and include many units with extraordinary levels of expertise in rope/high angle rescue. There are a # of teams in the Appalachian region that may be good resources for you.

    The National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) (http://www.nasar.org/) is an excellent resource as well - particularly with respect to training for individual SAR team members.

    You noted need for flood SAR skills. The SwiftH2O group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/SwiftH2O-News/ is a very good resource for info on flood as well as swiftwater SAR activities. Many members are leaders in the discipline.

    In general, a good place to start is often with your local Sheriff or PD. Traditionally in the western US the Sheriff handled most SAR type incidents since the Sheriff had a ready pool of citizen resources to call in times of need - the posse. As a result, the Sheriff is often the AHJ for SAR incidents. Explorer SAR units are often valuable resources that are worth considering.

    Maintaining a skilled and creditable wilderness/wildland SAR team is a lot of work, but if you have a location where that type of resource can be utilized they can be invaluable when you need them.

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    The Civil Air Patrol (US Air Force Auxiliary), while best known for aerial SAR (primarily for missing airplanes) also has ground SAR capability though not always in great numbers.

    While the Coast Guard Auxiliary doesn't do swiftwater rescue, they could potentially be a resource for missing boaters on rivers and lakes.

    And while they don't regularly train for it, the Army National Guard may also be of assistance.

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    I designed a response team for WSAR and USAR for a small department. I would be more than happy to share our SOGs or design with you. I used NASAR and TEEX wide area search programs extensively. NASAR has some good text for starting a good foundation. Message me your email and I will send whatever you want.

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    The system says you have PM's blocked. I ain't skeered to post it here... brianjeffiers@yahoo.com

    Anything you have in an "e-mailable" format would be helpful. Thanks a lot!
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    MtnRsq, I was gonna direct him to the Cal EMA and Firescope websites. Look on the Firescope website under "Documents" then scroll to "Free Documents" and download all the Field Operations Guides (420-1s I believe) from there. If you need some good and easy to use Command Sheets let me know and I'll send ya some that I have.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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    One of the items to consider in settting up a wildland SAR team is getting incident management staff some training managing search incidents.

    Many people attend a "Managing the Search Function" class to learn many of the fundamentals. http://www.cee.mtu.edu/~hssantef/sar...bookstore.html

    The Search is an Emergency materials are usually core to the curriculum. Writing good operational plans for these incidents necessitates familiarity with search management.

    As noted earlier, a good ICS structure greatly facilitates efficiently running searches. A set of SAR specific ICS forms is often useful since they allow you to capture SAR specific data. http://www.sarinfo.bc.ca/Icsforms.htm. A full set of forms in Word are avail and can be customized as necessary.

    Good mapping technology is very useful for any large scale or complex SAR work. The frequency and nature of your SAR incidents may not warrant it, but use of more advanced GIS technology has added to the ability to manage complex incidents. http://www.esri.com/industries/publi...ems/demos.html. Disclaimer - I have been involved with this work as a member of one of the units developing the tool.

    The Field Operations Guide (FOG) that mikeyboy references can be useful but may be overkill for what you need.

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