Search and Rescue Program

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

                                                                                                    Our Purpose

To support the development of increased SAR capablilities across the State of Tennessee.  Our program is designed to contribute in capability development across the spectrum of assisting and managing agencies throughout Tennessee, in support of local government efforts.  It is our intent to provide training, courswork, and opportunities to better serve the citizens of this state in times of need.  Designed to meet the ASTM Standard for Land Search and Rescue, we encourage all who are interested in actively participating in future search efforts to review and register for courses as they are available.  

                                                                                            Program Coursework

SAR101 TEMA Search Operations                                                                                                        8 hours

Description: This 1-day awareness level course gives a thorough overview of TEMA search operations and is especially focused on non-urban envionrments.  This entry-level course will provide an excellent foundation that helps lead students into GPS/Land Navigation, Basic Visual Tracking, and Managing Search Operations.  With a heavy focus on the 5-steps for conducting search and rescue operations, this course provides for a solid base to build upon for each student.


IS100, IS200

SAR125 GPS/Land Navigation                                                                                                                20 hours

Description:  This 2 1/2-day course is hands-on and the participants can expect to spend significant time outside, in the field/forest environment.  There will be a GPS and compass navigation component, which will involve significant hiking and a terrain walk as part of the field exercise portion of the course.  At the conclusion of training, particpants will be familiar with topographical maps, coordinate systems, GPS technology, and mapping programs.  Participants will be capable of relaying positioning information to search managers and receive positioning instructions in orter to move to directed search areas.


IS100, IS200, SAR101 (TEMA Search Operations)

SAR110 Basic Visual Tracking                                                                                                                 32 hours

Description:  This 4-day course teaches the basic skills in visual tracking and map/compass orientation, and specifically targets law enforcement tactical personnel and volunteer search/rescue squads.  Students receive 4 hourse of classroom instruction and the remainder of the course instruction will be outdoors, performing medium intensity field work, and performing several tracking exercises of increasing difficulty and complexity.  The class is approved for POST in-service specialized training through the Tennessee POST commission.


IS100, IS200, SAR101 (TEMA Search Operations), SAR125 (GPS/Land Navigation)

SAR201 Managing Search Operations                                                                                                40 hours

Description:  This 5-day course is conducted in a classroom setting.  The course was originally developed for searching in rural and mountainous areas, for those lost or missing.  With the ever-changing search environment and the need for a law enforcement presence in all lost and missing persons cases, the course has been revised to meet the needs of SAR personnel and law enformement elements.  The course features a law enforcement managed search in a metro area, which ended in the deaths of three young children.  The course begins with initial response efforts, procedures and legal requirements, and types of resources that may be available.  Following initial efforts, the course begins to build into additional operational periods and includes the development of an Incident Action Plan, for multi-operational period/day operations.  Also covered are investigative procedures, psychological and family care issues, and suspending the search and post-search efforts.  Practical exercises utilizing maps and skills learned in class, are used to enhance the students learning experience.  The lead instructor for the class supplements the instructor cadre with instructors who have extensive practical experience in search operations.  The class is approved for POST in-service specialized training through the Tennessee POST commission.


IS100, IS200, SAR101 (TEMA Search Operations)

Please visit TEMA Training to sign-up for courses, request course availability, and find answers to any questions you may have regarding the courses, prerequisites, and program. 

For IS Prequisite Coursework - please visit the FEMA Independent Study website at 

For additional program information and questions, please contact the Team Development Manager - Ryan Thompson at