Learn Search and Rescue Survival Techniques
In the event that you have lost a member of your party and know they may be in some desolate location, it pays to know some basic search and rescue (SAR) skills so that you can go about finding them based on your training and organization.
These are also useful skills to know in the event that you are the one who needs rescuing.
The goal of SAR (search and rescue) is to locate, stabilize and extract individuals who are or may be in distress. Learn more about SAR and the search techniques that are proven to work.
The focus will be in outdoor/rural situations as opposed to urban situations.
Search and Rescue Goals: Find, stabilize, and extract your missing person.
Plan Your Search and Rescue
If you have a team of volunteers that are assisting you in finding the missing person, you will first meet to determine the details of the person and their whereabouts.
Ask the following questions:
- Victim injured?
- Able to Signal for Help?
- Just lost?
- Hostile situation?
- Person mobile?
Collect as many clues as possible to begin tracking the missing person.
The primary goals of your search and rescue are laid out by the US Coast Guard, which says:
- Minimize the duration of the search
- Limit the loss of life and property
- Minimize injury and damage to the environment
Establishing a Search Area for Your Search and Rescue
Once the searchers have been briefed on the situation and all available search and rescue information available, the next step is to establish a search area.
These areas are established by determining the place the person was last seen.
A circle is based on this location and search will progress from there. If a clue such as a fire is found along the way, this point becomes the last known position, or LKP, and is used to help determine the victim’s direction of travel based on the last seen place.
If you find a clue north of the place where the person was last seen, you can assume the victim is on a northward setting and will help in reestablishing the search area.
Search and Rescue Time Considerations
Searchers will have to consider how much time they have to find a victim and the length of daylight. While slow searches may produce more clues to previous movement, time constraints may dictate a faster search. Multiple fast searches can be more productive than a slower and intensive approach.
If you have the luxury of a team of dogs, volunteers, and helicopters, the search can be easier than by foot. If you are only comprised of a small team of searchers, be sure to have adequate communication and a generous supply of food and water for the team and the victim.