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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAR Tech I, II and III

Now that I've earned my Rock Rescue Tech patch, I'm thinking about what other "levels" of search and rescue I might try to accomplish. I've heard people mention SAR Tech I, II and III, so I decided to get more details. And here's what I've found out:

These are tests administered by the National Association for Search & Rescue, with SAR Tech I being the highest level of the three. And it is not necessary to take the SAR Tech III test (written only) to go for SAR Tech II (written and practical tests).

A SAR Tech II exam can be scheduled by anyone who wants to sponsor or host one. I see on the schedule for the upcoming Arizona SAR Conference in Heber (9/18 - 20) that the SAR Tech II test may be taken for a fee of $55.

The SAR Tech II written test consists of 160 multiple choice questions, with a passing grade being no less than 70%. Topics covered in the exam include:

* NIMS Incident Command System
* Basic Survival
* SAR Clothing
* Improvising
* Environmental Hazards and First Aid
* SAR Ready Pack
* Personal Equipment
* Travel Skills
* Land Navigation & Orienteering
* SAR Resources
* Search Philosophy
* Search Tactics
* Handling Evidence
* Clue Consciousness
* Search Operations
* Tracking
* Ropes & Rescue Equipment
* Legal Aspects for the Searcher

The practical test for SAR Tech II is made up of six stations in the categories of land navigation, tracking, the 24-Hour Pack, rope skills, route search and area search. Applicants must demonstrate these skills to an approved evaluator.

An explanation of each of these stations and all the requirements for SAR Tech II and III can be found at,_II_02,_2003.pdf.

SAR Tech I is the advanced "Crew Leader/Evaluator" level, which is recommended only for those who may function as crew leaders during missions. A list of testing topics, both written and practical, can be found at

I think SAR Tech II certification is something I want to do, which means I'll need the March, 2005 edition of the textbook, Fundamentals of Search and Rescue. Apparently, earlier editions of the book will not be sufficient to prepare for the exam.
You can see a list of all NASAR Course offerings and examinations on their website at


Anonymous said...

I heard from Monty Bell that NASAR will be be changing to an automated instructor system? All instructors will be required to go online and enter students names and information. After successful completeion of classes students will then go online and print out their own certificates? Also he said that they will be "down sizing" the office staff by eliminating the Director of Education's spot? Does this seem wrong to anyone else?

TimH said...

As more or most organizations require electronic copies of your certificates it makes sense to have them available in electronic format. It also seems like certificates can take longer than they should to be issued and mailed out. I don't know whether that's an instructor delay or a NASAR issue. So I like streamlining that process.

I don't know what the director of education does so I don't know if eliminating that position makes sense.

It does seem like they should be more proactive in recruiting or facilitating in getting more instructors. Maybe the director of education should be focusing on that.