Chapter 11: SAR Resources and Technology




I. Resources

PowerPoint slides, Chapter 11


II. Teaching Points


A. Resources (p. 176)

1.      Refers to a person, group, or piece of equipment that has the ability to contribute to an operation or organization

2.      A single person is termed an “individual resource.”

3.      A collection of individuals and their equipment are called “group resources.”

4.      Categorizing SAR resources consists of three basic subdivisions:

a.       Human and animal

b.      Informational

c.       Equipment and technology


B. Human and animal resources (p. 177)

1.      Three types of human search resources

a.       Hasty teams

b.      Grid search crews

c.       Human trackers

2.      Each has its own uses, benefits, and limitations.


3.      Hasty teams

a.       Are small (usually 3 members)

b.      Well-trained

c.       Highly mobile

d.      Self-sufficient

e.       Clue-conscious

f.        Provide the backbone for state-of-the-art search efforts

g.       They utilize fast, non-thorough search tactics in areas most likely to produce clues or the subject(s).

h.       Teams should include individuals who are track and sign aware, clue and subject oriented, and familiar with local terrain and dangers.

i.         Usually operate under standard operating procedures so they do not have to wait for specific instructions

j.        Carry equipment to remain self-sufficient for 24 hours


4. Grid search crews

a.       Primarily use vision to search in a well-defined, usually small, segment of land or water

b.      Classic approach involves several individuals standing in a line, and then walking together through the area.

c.       Tight grid search teams

                                                                     i.          Perform either tight grid searches or evidence searches

                                                                   ii.          The objective of tight grid teams is to search a segment to a high probability of detection.

                                                                  iii.          The objective of the same group in evidence search is to search very thoroughly in a very small area for inanimate objects.

                                                                 iv.          Require many searchers, often making it difficult to coordinate and manage

                                                                   v.          At least half of the team needs to be trained.

                                                                 vi.          Usually, any clues not discovered will be destroyed.

d.      Loose grid teams are very similar to tight grid teams except they may not maintain visual contact with adjacent searchers while searching.

                                                            i.      Must have more skilled members

                                                           ii.      More independent than tight grid teams

                                                         iii.      These types of teams often mix sound into their visual searches.

                                                         iv.      Loose grid teams need to be self-reliant and skilled.


5.      Human trackers

a.       Use their visual senses to search for evidence left by a person’s passing

b.      They cut or look for sign (discoverable evidence) by examining the area where the subject would likely have passed.

c.       Following the subsequent chain or chronology of sign is called tracking.

d.      The process of looking for the first piece of evidence from which to track is called sign cutting.

e.       Step-by-step method¾simple, methodical, and emphasizes finding every piece of possible evidence left by a subject

f.        Tracking is a very visual skill and requires a great deal of practice and experience.


6.      Technical rope rescuers

a.       The word “technical” precedes components of search and rescue where very specialized techniques are applied to the study of a science, art, or craft.

b.      Rope rescue is a complex tool used in the rescue function to achieve a goal that cannot otherwise be achieved.

c.       Rope rescue is considered both hazardous and exciting.


7.      Management

a.       Management resources are often among the most important to the success of an incident, especially when extended operations and planning are required.

b.      Specific functions required to effectively plan and manage a search

                                                            i.      Incident Commander

                                                           ii.      Investigation Unit Leader

                                                         iii.      Communications Unit Leader

                                                         iv.      Information Officer

                                                          v.      Operations Chief

                                                         vi.      Logistics Chief

                                                       vii.      Plans Chief

c.       Logistical Support

                                                            i.      Food

                                                           ii.      Shelter

                                                         iii.      Other logistical concerns

d.      Investigators/interviewers

e.       Communications support

f.        Facilities

g.       Critical stress debriefing teams

h.       Environment-specific personnel

                                                            i.      Mountaineers

                                                           ii.      Ice, snow, and cold

                                                         iii.      Subterranean (Cavers)

                                                         iv.      Aquatic (Water SAR)

                                                          v.      Hazardous materials

                                                         vi.      Confined space


8.      Animals: Dogs and horses

a.       A dog team usually consists of one dog and one human handler.

b.      Two types of dogs used in SAR: tracking/trailing and air scent.

c.       Humans give off a constant stream of scent, like invisible smoke, which is mostly made up of skin cells are constantly being shed (40,000 per minute).

d.      The cells, their associated bacteria, and body secretions are detectable by a dog as they either float through the air or come to rest in the environment

e.       Air scenting dogs detect the scent as it floats through the air.

f.        Tracking/trailing dogs

                                                            i.      Detect the scent as it comes to rest on the ground

                                                           ii.      Frequently work on lead

                                                         iii.      Require a scent article to establish the scent

                                                         iv.      The ability of a handler to know when the dog is on the trail or has “alerted” to scent is acquired through many years of practice. 

g.       Horses act primarily as a means for transportation for equipment.

                                                            i.      Can search remote or rough terrain

                                                           ii.      Equestrian units can be damaging to terrain and evidence.

                                                         iii.      In the right circumstances, horses can be a valuable asset.


C. Equipment and technology (p. 185)

1.      Aircraft: Search area evaluation and for actual searching

2.      Specialized vehicles

a.       Over-snow vehicles

b.      Four-wheel drive vehicles

c.       All-terrain vehicles

d.      Mountain bikes