Search and rescue in the United States

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Charlotte Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue vehicle

Search and rescue in the United States involves a wide range of organizations that have search and rescue responsibilities.

In January 2008, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Response Framework (NRF) which, serves as the guiding document for a federal response during a national emergency. In addition to the NRF there are 15 annexes relating to Emergency Support Functions (ESF) which, includes other federal agencies that contain resources or expertise to support an emergency. Search and Rescue is included as ESF-9 and divides SAR into 4 primary elements, while assigning a federal agency with the lead role for each of the 4 elements.[1]

In the US SAR standards are developed primarily by ASTM International and the US NFPA which are then used by organizations such as the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA), the US National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR), and the US NFPA to develop training that will meet or exceed those standards.[2] Within ASTM International, most standards of relevance to SAR are developed by Committee F32 on Search and Rescue. Formed in 1988, the committee had 85 current members and jurisdiction of 38 approved standards.[2]

National organizations[edit]

State organizations[edit]

Rescue workers and boats on the central span and the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1 August 2007
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
  • NCCERT (North Carolina Canine Emergency Response Team)

Virginia benefits from a state-coordinated system of training and response under the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). Under Title 44 of the Code of Virginia, VDEM develops and maintains the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP) that includes the ESF-9 Annex for Search and Rescue. Similar to the federal version of ESF-9 under the National Response Framework (NRF), VDEM divides SAR into 4 primary elements. While VDEM functions as the lead for ESF-9, many agencies, departments and volunteer organizations routinely responds to and supports SAR operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[21][22]


Search and rescue services for downed, missing, or overdue aircraft and Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). Organizations include:


For search and rescue of lost and missing persons in a wide variety of circumstances and environments, resources include:


Providing search and rescue for vessels in distress in coastal and inland waters, resources include:


To provide response in the event of collapsed structures and significant events, organizations include:


  1. ^ Section ESF #9-1
  2. ^ a b O'Toole, Thomas F. (n.d.). "Committee F32 on Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  3. ^ National Association for Search and Rescue (November 2009). "National Association for Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  4. ^ National Association of Volunteer Search and Rescue Teams (2008). "National Association of Volunteer Search and Rescue Teams". Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  5. ^ "Alabama Association of Rescue Squads". Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  6. ^ "Red Mountain Search Dog Association". Retrieved 2017-03-05. 
  7. ^ San Luis Obispo County Search and Rescue (April 2013). "SLOSAR". Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  8. ^ Bay Area Search And Rescue Council (December 2009). "BASARAC". Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  9. ^ Marin County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Team (December 2009). "Marin County Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  10. ^ San Mateo County (2008). "Volunteer - Search and Rescue Units". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  11. ^ San Diego County (2011). "San Diego Mountain Rescue Team". Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  12. ^ K-9 One SAR (n.d.). "K-9 One". Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "Missouri Task Force 1 organization". BCFPD. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  14. ^ "New Mexico Search and Rescue Council". 
  15. ^ Westchester County Technical Rescue Team (2012). "Special Operations Unit". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  16. ^ New York Search And Rescue (2007). "New York Search And Rescue". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  17. ^ Long Island Search and Rescue (2012). "Long Island Search and Rescue". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  18. ^ New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams (2013). "New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue (2016). "Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue". Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  20. ^ Rapid Assistance to Community Emergencies (2010). "Rapid Assistance to Community Emergencies". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  21. ^ Virginia Department of Emergency Management (2009). "". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  22. ^ Virginia Department of Emergency Management (2009). "Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Operations Plan". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  23. ^ Virginia Wing, Civil Air Patrol (2003). "Virginia Wing Headquarters Civil Air Patrol". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  24. ^ Virginia Department of State Police (2009). "Aviation Unit". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  25. ^ Amherst County Search and Rescue (n.d.). "Amherst County Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  26. ^ Burleson, Randall C. (2009). "Appalachian Professional Tracking Group, Inc.". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  27. ^ Appalachian Search; Rescue Conference (n.d.). "Welcome to ASRC". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  28. ^ Black Diamond Search; Rescue Council (2008). "Black Diamond Search and Rescue Council". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  29. ^ Blue and Gray Search and Rescue (January 2009). "Welcome to Blue and Gray Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  30. ^ Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group (February 2012). "Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group". Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  31. ^ DOGS-East Search and Rescue (n.d.). "DOGS-East Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  32. ^ Greater Atlantic Rescue Dogs (2009). "Greater Atlantic Rescue Dogs". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  33. ^ DeMarsh, Chris W. (2015). "Jefferson County Search Dog Association". Retrieved 2015-12-13. 
  34. ^ K-9 Alert Search and Rescue Dogs, Inc (n.d.). "K-9 Alert". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  35. ^ (2009). "". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  36. ^ Search and Rescue Dogs of Maryland (SARDOM) (2008). "SARDOM". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  37. ^ Southwest Virginia Mountain Rescue Group (2013). "Southwest Virginia Mountain Rescue Group". Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  38. ^ Tidewater Search and Rescue (2009). "Welcome to TSAR". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  39. ^ Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (2009). "Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  40. ^ Virginia Marine Resources Commission (2009). "Virginia Marine Resources Commission". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  41. ^ "Smith Point Sea Rescue". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  42. ^ "Eckerd College Search and Rescue". Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  43. ^ Fairfax County Urban Search & Rescue (2009). "Welcome to". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  44. ^ Virginia Task Force 2 (April 2009). "Virginia Task Force 2". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 

External links[edit]