Techniques for Finding Information
Many citizen volunteers aid local and state SAR teams in missing individuals. Many times, it’s unclear if the missing individual was abducted, is injured and unable to call for help, or is just lost. Law enforcement personnel working with volunteers are collecting clues and determining exactly what the mission would include.
The first task for SAR teams is to define a search area. This is usually a circle drawn around the last known location of the missing person. That point will shift as the search goes, such as if a piece of clothing is discovered along a path. The latest known position, or LKP, is then established. If you have a last point observed and a final known place, you may make an educated guess as to the direction and speed the individual was moving. For example, if a lady was seen at a trailhead at midday and her water bottle was discovered on the path four miles north of the trailhead an hour later, you may assume she’s heading north at around four miles per hour. This aids in the definition of the search area.
Each one has a different chance of succeeding when it comes to methods. While a slow and comprehensive search may yield more information, it may not be the ideal option if time is important. Multiple quick searches are more fruitful than a longer, more comprehensive approach. The first squad to be sent is usually a quick search team. Members of the group are either sheriff’s deputies or people who have completed extensive SAR training. Their role is to work in pairs, move swiftly, scan high-probability regions, and conclude the search as quickly as possible.
A grid search team travels slowly and more carefully around the region with a lengthy line of volunteers. Grid searchers frequently uncover clues that aid more experienced SAR teams in hunting for the missing individual. A chokepoint is a natural or artificial feature that helps the SAR team to focus their search. For example, if a bridge can only cross a huge river, the SAR team will station a watch person at that bridge while the rest focuses on other tasks. SAR teams sometimes use track traps to check if a person has gone through a specific location. Bringing sand along a woodland route and checking it for footprints is one trap tactic.
Search-and-rescue Dogs in Action
Several occupants living in the 12-story high-rise were trapped and rescued when a beachside condo building in Miami partially collapsed on June 24, 2021. However, more than 150 people are still missing and unaccounted for (as of this update). Search-and-rescue teams of ten to twelve people combed the wreckage for survivors, many of whom were accompanied by highly trained search-and-rescue (SAR) dogs trained to identify the scent of persons buried beneath the rubble.
Because time is of importance in rescue efforts such as the one in Miami, search and rescue dogs are essential instruments for locating anyone who may be trapped alive in the wreckage. Aide Barbat told CBS News on June 24 that “the dogs save us a huge amount of time.” Barbat is a CA Task Force 8, one of the United States’ 28 urban search and rescue teams. “In ten minutes, a 10,000-square-foot structure can be searched.”