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Search and Rescue


Description: This 1-day awareness level course gives a thorough overview of TEMA search operations and is especially focused on non-urban environments. While this course is not a prerequisite it is an excellent foundation for Basic Visual Tracking or Managing Search Operations.

Prerequisites: None


Description: This 2 ½-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 Navigation Course which will involve significant hiking and a terrain walk as part of the field exercise portion of the course.  At the conclusion of training, participants 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 order to move to directed search areas. 

Prerequisites: None

Basic Visual Tracking

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 four hours of classroom instruction with the remaining hours performing medium intensity fieldwork, performing several tracking exercises of increasing difficulty and complexity. The class is approved for POST in-service Specialized Training through the Tennessee POST Commission.

Prerequisites: None

Managing Search Operations

Description: This 5-day course is conducted in a classroom setting. The course was original 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 person’s cases, the course has been revised to meet the needs of SAR personnel and law enforcement 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 which 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 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.

Prerequisites: None


Description: This 5-day course is a comprehensive, “graduate-level” look at inland search theory and its application to land and air searches for missing persons and aircraft in a wilderness environment. The course consists of classroom lessons and tabletop exercises with emphasis on the planning necessary for effective area-type searches during an extended search using Probability of Success (POS) to predictively allocate limited resources to their best effect. Additional topics include pre-plan development, legal aspects, NIMS ICS applied to SAR, the federal role, and related subjects. This course does not teach search tactics or technical procedures and is directed towards SAR leaders in federal, state, and local emergency services and law enforcement — those responsible for the planning and overall conduct of inland search missions. The general searcher, while a most important member of the SAR team, will not find this course useful. There is a significant amount of mathematics and statistical analysis required to complete this course.

Prerequisites: None