SAR Fundamentals/Incident anatomy/Part 1


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[edit] Subject

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[edit] Authors

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Brett Wuth, Jake Waiboer

[edit] Scope

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SAR Fundamentals Manual:

  • Search and Rescue Fundamentals
    • Ch.1 "SAR, What is It and How Do You Fit In?"
    • Ch.20 "Anatomy of a SAR Incident"
    • Appendix A "Urgency Determination Form"
    • Appendix D "Briefing and Debriefing Checklist"
  • SAR Skills Handbook
    • Ch 2 "SAR Overview" (page A-5)

[edit] Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson the participants:

  1. will understand the overall flow of an incident

[edit] Time Plan

Total Time: 70 minutes

2003-10-18 10:22 - 11:35 : 1.3h
2010-03: 2010-03 64min

Time Material


3 min

Introduce topic title

Introduce Instructor

Material Covered:

Chapter 20: Anatomy of an Incident p.279

Present Objectives


  • Play video
  • Is that wat you think a search would be like?
  • Actors are real SAR people doing their normal roles.
  • Math
  • What do you think happened?
  • What roles did you see SAR volunteers doing
  • people
    • Grandfather: Jim Cradock
    • Grandson: Mike Hogan
    • Agency Executive: Barry
    • Incident Command: Dave

What were the 4 phases of a search?

(discussed in introductory section)

  • L - Locate
  • A - Access
  • S - Stabalize
  • T - Transport


  • S - Search
  • A - Access
  • M - Medical
  • E - Evacuate

discuss how those phases were (or weren't) seen in the video

Being ready for a search

Before the searchers can arrive what needs to happen?

lead group in discussion that draws out these components of search:

Strategy - determine what needs to be done

preceeded by

Notification - group being alerted to situation

preceeded by

Preplan - planning for a possible incident, preparing people and equipment

What happens after the search?

lead group in discussion that draws out these components of search:

Suspension - decision to end the search, demobilization

So what if you found you didn't have the right equipment? Weren't prepared?

Fix it (feed back loop)

How would you know all the things needing fixing?

Critique - gathering lessons learned

The SAR event cycle

  • SAR Fund Slide - Basic SAR 6

draw or show the complete cycle, discuss

2 min

Preplan (Planning/Preparation)

  • Most of the work of a SAR organization
  • Identifying needs
  • Training (like this course), practicing
  • Fund raising for equipment


  • Initial contact is very important, the impression you leave with the reporting person.
  • The attitude of the report taker
  • Name and call back number/location of the reporting party.
  • Don't let the reporting party leave.

Notification of the group

  • PCSAR DOC-80 Incident Notification Process
  • trace message from public to PCSAR manager
  • Tasking agency notified first
  • Use of 24 hour professional answering service: STARS
  • Redundant communications lines
  • Informal communications: ~50% of calls - small town

Notification of individual searchers

  • PCSAR DOC-67 Emergency Call Out Procedure
  • use of call-out personnel
    • personal phone call in the middle of the night
    • adopting automated telephone system
  • list of basic information searchers should get

Rare occassions not tasked

  • give 1 example


    • PCSAR DOC-1 Search Urgency
  • Priority of the mission
  • Investigation procedures
  • Plan Tactics/Operations
    • Tactics

Tactics / Operations

  • SAR Fund slide: Basic SAR 580

Inner cycle:

  • Check in (Sign-In)
  • Briefing
  • Assignment
  • Debriefing
  • Check out (Sign-Out)


  • May be verbal, although PC SAR requires physical sign in.
  • When and where you check in, is when you find out where to go i.e., debriefing etc.
  • Get your check in details during the call out. (don't be afraid to ask)


Why do we need a briefing?

1. Controlled by the mgmt., team.

  • The plans chief or assistant or the Manager may give you your briefing.
  • Done before shift
  • Should get all maps and info.
    • Again don't be afraid to ask questions.

Components of a briefing: SMEAC

  • Situation
  • Mission
  • Execution
  • Administration
  • Communications

Pincher SAR radio "5-codes"

2. info you should receive, if not ask.

  • Status, objectives, strategies, predictions
  • Subject info, complete physical description, clothing, etc.,
  • physical & mental cond., behavior traits, circumstances.
  • Clue considerations, shoe, items carried, and how to handle them if found.
  • Trip plans
  • Terrain
  • Weather (should have found this out during call-out).
  • Equipment needed by you, other than SAR Pack.
  • Comm., details
  • Drop dead time. (return to base)
  • Transport, how are you getting to your search area?
  • External influences.
  • Tactical details- search techniques.
  • Mgmt., overview
  • Safety inst.
  • Team injuries & how to handle them.


Each individual and each team has certain responsibilities. All of these need to be decided before you go into the field.

  • team leader
  • radio
  • navigation
  • note taker/time keeper
  • first aid
  • etc.

one person can have more than one responsibility


back side of DOC-61

The Planning Section Chief is in charge of seeing the debriefing is done correctly.

The team leader may debrief his team first then be debriefed

The debriefing should be done in writing & with verbal.

The Team is responsible for:

  • Explicit descriptions of the areas covered and activities.
  • Estimate of POD is required. ( must know how to calculate)
  • Difficulties with the search.
  • Hazards
  • Suggestions.
  • Feel free to use any method of relaying the proper info.
  • The info you provide is very important to setting up the next search area's, POA, POD, and POS.

Check Out

  • PC SAR requires physical check-out on paper with time.


  • decision process
  • demobilization
  • sign-out
  • safe travel
  • return to service


  • Are you ready to go into the field again, and if not how long?


  • doesn't mean criticism
  • want to learn as much as possible
  • excellent learning opportunity even for those that didn't attend
  • PC SAR has a critique after nearly every search.


Collect question bank cards.

[edit] Aids

What materials are needed or useful in presenting this lesson.

  • Video - Search Management, Part 1 - "Initial Response" - 28 min
  • Slides
    • Basic SAR 579
    • Basic SAR 60
    • optional:
      • Basic SAR 581
      • Basic SAR 583
      • Basic SAR 584
      • Basic SAR 589
      • Basic SAR 595
      • Basic SAR 598
      • Basic SAR 596
      • Basic SAR 599
      • Basic SAR 604
      • Basic SAR 608
      • Basic SAR 597
      • Basic SAR 610
      • Basic SAR 605

[edit] Question bank

List of questions suitable for an review/exam of this section.

See Question bank

[edit] Frequently Asked Questions

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[edit] Feedback

When has this lesson been presented. What was the feedback.

2004-09-07 Wuth presentation at PCSAR regular meeting

[edit] License

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Copyright © 2004-2012, Brett Wuth. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Canada License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

[edit] Reference Material

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[edit] Notes

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some of this material is from Jake Waiboer

[edit] To do

Create a slide for ~info you should receive, if not ask.~

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