Search Manager/Guidelines


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The following is a list of brief decisions and guidelines agreed upon by the PC SAR preplan committee. As more items are added, the intent is to develop a document that PC SAR search managers can browse periodically as a reminder.


[edit] Short SOPs

Short Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's have more weight than the guidelines below)

[edit] Sleep

All searchers attending an incident are expected to be sufficiently well rested to perform for one operational period. Under normal circumstances no searcher should be on duty for two operational periods in a row and searchers will have at least 6 hours sleep before returning to duty. Under exceptional circumstances it is the responsibility of the overhead team to evaluate for each searcher how long it has been since they've rested, how intense their day has been, and how risks can be mitigated. (Preplan meeting 2005-04-19)

[edit] Nighttime search suspension

A search shall be suspended at night only under the most unusual circumstances. At a minimum a night watch will have the ability to ramp up a response should the field situation change unexpectedly (e.g. new information comes in). Under normal circumstances a night operational period will include confinement, detailed planning for the morning, and may include attraction and active search techniques. (Preplan meeting 2005-04-19)

[edit] Guidelines

1/ Early on in every incident the Search Manager should give thought to assigning someone to the role of Safety Officer. In most incidents this role should be assigned. (Preplan meeting 2003-01-15)

2/ Avoid the terms "hasty search" and "hasty team". People have different understandings of what they mean and confusion could result. Instead use "Type 1 Search" or "Type 2 Search" for the technique, and "2-Person" or "3-Person" for the team composition. (Preplan meeting 2003-03-11)

3/ Reminder that existing policy (refer to policy doc) is that whenever an outside resource is to be requested, including other SAR teams, the tasking agency must approve. (Preplan meeting 2003-04-21)

4/ If it can be done in an efficient fashion, a team should do a quick type 1 recognizance of their segment prior to doing a type 2 search. (Preplan meeting 2003-03-21)

5/ When a search is being suspended for a short while (e.g. overnight) an Overhead/Watch team should remain on-site during the suspension. The team is needed to handle unexpected changes to the circumstances (new information, ability to resume search). The team should use the time to plan and prepare for the next operational period. (Preplan meeting 2003-02-12)

6/ When sending people into unfamiliar country it would help to orient searchers on site. For instance, have someone accompany them to the head of the trail, and point some features out. (Preplan meeting 2003-11-12)

7/ For quad type searches it is sometimes better to segment areas bounded on waterways instead of height of land. This is because there may be some confusion where the height of land is. (Preplan meeting 2003-11-12)

8/ When using FRS radios to talk between members of a team, Pincher SAR has adopted a convention that Team Alpha uses Channel 1 Subchannel 1, Team Bravo uses Channel 2 Subchannel 2, etc. This allows teams not to interfere with each other, but adjacent teams to know what channel to try if they need to contact each other. (Preplan meeting 2003-11-12)

9/ The Search Manager is responsible to see that all people involved in the search eventually return home safely. In the normal case, this means that each person who is signed in calls to confirm when they have returned home. This responsibility is often delegated to the Call-Back person. If the Call-Back person is released, the Call-Back Number should be forwarded to the Search Manager. If a person does not confirm that they are home safe in a reasonable amount of time, effort should be made to locate the person. The Search Manager may decide under appropriate circumstances not to monitor the safe return of participants. Such circumstances might be good weather, good lighting, non-tired, short distance and/or participants not intending to return home. (Preplan meeting 2004-02-24)

10/ At the end an incident it is difficult to judge whether a critique will be of value, because people haven't had time to think about issues that arose. Therefore, critiques should be scheduled for any more-than-minor incident. (Preplan meeting 2004-02-24)

11/ When a search starts, every member of each field team should be given an FRS radio to communicate within the field team. Later as the search expands the FRS radios can be redistributed on a need basis. (Preplan meeting 2004-02-24)

12/ The SOP for callback on leaving the search is that the Search Manager or delegate will evaluate whether there is need for people to callback after they return home. This evaluation will happen whenever people are leaving the search. The callback will be to the Call Back Number. The emergency callers will be informed of who is returning home and when their call must be received by. If a call back is missed, the emergency callers will inform the Search Manager. (Preplan meeting 2004-06-22)

13/ Sometimes in the earliest phase of the search, teams are sent out without having a copy of their task assignment. This sometimes results in the team not doing what was intended and their resource is not most effectively used. Overhead team is reminded to slow down during first dispatch so that teams are sufficiently briefed and if at all possible given a copy of the written task assignment. (Preplan meeting 2004-06-22)

14/ It's been common practice for volunteer Alberta SAR groups to describe the "Search Manager" reporting to the "Incident Commander". But this isn't standard ICS. ICS says that the two positions are Incident Commander and Agency Executive. The "Search Manager" is the Incident Commander who reports to the Agency Executive from each Tasking Agency involved. The difference has caused confusion when Waterton Park works with PCSAR. The naming that we've been used comes from training and conventions in most Alberta SAR groups. In order to avoid future confusion with other organizations using ICS, PCSAR should use the names "Search Manager (Incident Commander)" and "Agency Executive". (Preplan meeting 2004-09-28)

15/ Grant Hignell announced a new policy or objective that at every search a minimum of three search managers be present in the overhead team at all times. If there are not enough search managers available locally, they should be called in from elsewhere. Given the numbers and participation we have from our current local search managers we should expect difficulty meeting this requirement locally. The Board has set a goal of PCSAR providing one of the managers and allowing the RCMP to supply two. The matter will be discussed at the next regional meeting. (Board meeting 2004-10)

16/ When called upon to assist LASARA we should ask detailed questions about overhead logistics, and offer the SARCAR regardless. (Preplan meeting 2005-04-19)

17/ When the mobile command post first arrives delegate someone to set it up and set out equipment that may be needed. See wiki checklist "Mobile Command Post Set Up". (Preplan meeting 2010-04-20)

[edit] Hints

The Board indicated that Michael Taje has said that they can sometimes give the exact location of grizzly bears, so call them if we have a search in grizzly country. (Preplan meeting 2005-05)

Search managers are reminded that the sign in sheet should include the names of the call out people working that search. Also, when the manager submits the names to the Membership Coordinator (if its via email) the date(s) need to be included as well. (Preplan meeting 2005-05)

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