SAR Fundamentals/Critique


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critique of night search

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Thank you for agreeing to chair the critique on Sunday of the mock search. The time scheduled is for 1 hour, so this is a bit more compressed than most critiques, but we're restricted by the other course requirements.

The purpose of this session is first to get the students to understand what a critique is and how to participate in it. Secondly the students are given an opportunity to discuss and consolidate their learnings from the previous night's mock search. And finally, like all critiques, this is an opportunity for PCSAR to learn from the experience of the mock search and find ways to improve its operation in future incidents.

You asked for reference material on critiques. I was surprised that I couldn't find any useful information in either the old manual or the new one. I did some googling and found some material, but not a lot. It seemed to miss some of the major points we've adopted in running a good critique.

  • using a knowledgeable but uninvolved chair
  • inviting all stakeholders
  • summarizing the facts first
  • focusing on what worked well as well as what could be improved
  • gathering the discussion into functional area
  • including a round table

The fact that I'm not seeing these in writing elsewhere leaves me a bit unsure as to where these ideas came from. Have we received them orally? Did we evolved them ourselves over time?

It suggests we have an opportunity to lead in this area by starting to put these ideas down on paper.

What we have written so far, you can find at these two links on the wiki:

  • SAR_Fundamentals/Critique

This is the same material you've worked with before.

If you'd like to develop them further for your presentation/critique please do.

The idea is that we run an abbreviated real critique of the previous night search. In the process we help the students to understand what a critque is, why we have them, how they're run and how they can participate. That's the main purpose of this section. But along the way we also attain the secondary purposes:

  • consolidate their learnings from the night search
  • provide feedback which helps us to put together better training next year
  • identify areas we can work on as an organization

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  1. will be able to ...

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Total Time: 60 minutes

2005-02 : 15 min
2006-09-30 : 51 min
2008-02-07 : 34 min
2013-02: 62 min


  • how often
  • when done
  • confidentiality
  • not criticism
  • stages
   * first notification / tasking
   * call-out
   * investigation
   * communications
   * resources
   * family liaison
   * briefing
   * searching
   * extrication
   * stand down
   * CISM
   * prevention, public education
   * travel
   * logistics
   * planning
   * media
   * post ops
   * critique (how this critique was organized)

See: Critiques

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3 min

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