102 Introduction To Land Search And Rescue

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Search and Rescue Team clear debris at a collapsed building in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 17, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Stumberg/Not Released)

Course Overview:

This course was first developed in 1992 to meet a need for basic search and rescue training for REACT team members who respond to search events.  If you completed the old “Search Teams” course, you will recognize much of this material.  However, in the 25 years since its original publication, search and rescue has evolved in the United States and Canada into a very capable emergency service, and this text has been completely reworked to address the changes,

Normally our role in REACT is communications, but sometimes the need is not so much for radio operators as it is for people who can walk across a field or down a road or around buildings looking for someone who is missing.   Because you are a member of an organized team, you know how to work as a team, follow a team leader, and carry out a task.  Untrained volunteers who simply show up in response to a public appeal do not have those skills.  So, whether the task is searching for a missing person in a park or forest, or for that matter in a suburban environment, trying to locate an emergency beacon, or supporting other teams as communications liaisons, you can be a valuable resource.

Our Introduction to Land Search and Rescue covers:

  • Search is an emergency
  • Activating the Search and Rescue system
  • If you are the first on scene
  • Basic search theory
  • Search tactics
  • Interviewing
  • The search team in the field
  • Runaway and abducted persons
  • Direction finding
  • Logs
  • Developing a search capability in your team

The course manual is 56 pages in length, and allowing time to study and complete the suggested exercises should take approximately 4 to 8 hours to complete.  There is a final examination – when you are ready, contact our training staff at Training@REACTIntl.org to obtain the web address and password for our online testing system.  Continuing education units are awarded for course completion.

This course will not make you an expert in how to do land search and rescue.  It is an introduction.  Get to know the search and rescue teams in your area and state, ask how you can help, attend their training, work with them in exercises, and be a reliable partner in actual responses.  If you do, you will make a real contribution to helping find people who have misplaced themselves and are in trouble in the urban, rural, or wilderness environment.

Course Manual (677kb)