If you're involved with Search & Rescue and are anything like me, you yack your spouse's (or significant other's or co-workers' or friends') ears off about SAR--SAR missions, SAR trainings, SAR news, SAR gear, SAR skills .... even maybe a little SAR gossip from time to time. (Not that I do that, of course. And, of course, there are often things we can't talk about regarding missions.) But it's nice to be able to talk SAR with other SAR folks, too, because they may actually be interested for more than a few minutes.
And there are some good opportunities to do so online, on social sites, forums and e-mail discussion lists. Here are some of those I've found:
There are numerous ways and reasons one can use Twitter, including communicating with people from around the world who have the same interests. I often "tweet" about Search & Rescue and follow others who do also. And we tend to interact directly quite often. I've started putting together a directory of SAR volunteers and professionals on Twitter at Search & Rescue On Twitter: Follow These Good Folks.
There's also a Twitter "Twibe" at http://www.twibes.com/groups/SAR. Here, you can view only those posts that include the words "Search and Rescue" or "SAR."
There are Search & Rescue Facebook groups as well. I belong to S.A.R. Search and Rescue
California Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue (global)
Ground Search and Rescue
Canadian Search and Rescue
To name just a handful of many. If you are a Facebook member or decide to join, simply type "Search & Rescue" into the search box, and you'll find a long list of related groups (and a few that aren't). Some SAR groups are stagnant or have few members, but others are quite active. A number of them are closed groups, meaning you have to click on the "Request to Join" link and wait for moderator approval.
Rescue Training and Resource Guide Forums: Online discussion forum covering many aspects of Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue Forums at Expedition Portal: Looks like an active forum on my SAR topics
E-mail Discussion Lists
Search & Rescue Discussion List (SAR-L): Mailing list topics can include techniques, training, management, tips, gear, announcements and much more. To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe" in the subject line. Activity averages 120 messages per month.
SAR-Dogs Discussion List: This list was formed to facilitate communication between K9 SAR handlers and persons interested in K9 SAR.
CSAR List: A Yahoo! Group, for discussion of all aspects of the use of computers and computer-related technology to the execution and management of Search and Rescue operations. This can include mapping programs, Geographical Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), Incident Command System (ICS) and other SAR-related applications. Average 10 messages per month.
Swiftwater/Flood Rescue Information and News: A Yahoo! Group for rescue personnel and others to exchange information about flood disaster preparedness, swiftwater/flood rescue training, and public safety education. 100-500 emails per month.
There's also a Search & Rescue group on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a network of professionals (volunteers too!) from around the globe.
If you know of any other active Search and Rescue-related forums or discussion groups, please let us know in the comments section.