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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Hasty Search

I probably should have made this post before writing about "the anatomy of a grid search," because a hasty search is often the method of first resort. The objective of a hasty search is to put well-trained SAR members in the field as quickly as possible to search as quickly as is reasonably possible, to check high-probability areas where a subject might be injured or lost. Hasty teams may use vehicles, 4-wheelers, and/or snow mobiles as well as search on foot. Tracking and air-scenting dogs are also frequently used in this phase of a mission.

The article, Search Techniques Used by Trained Teams in the Field, states, "The idea is to cover the ground. This is why it is so important to use trained searchers, because they are usually much more in tuned with what clues to look for and how to quickly spot footprints, broken branches (tracking signs), etc."

Hasty searches are usually conducted by small teams that travel to the most likely spots via the route of least resistance, in the hopes that the subject is still alive and responsive.

Hasty teams are not expected--or supposed--to look behind every bush, but neither are they necessarily instructed to move along a certain path. Often, these experienced searchers are given a lot of discretion as to how they move through the area.

Contrary to the term, however, a hasty search should not be equated with carelessness. Rather, the majority of missions never go beyond the hasty search mode, ending within a day or two if not within hours. Hasty searches are efficient as well as quick, and they can often prevent the unnecessary deployment of additional and perhaps costly resources and personnel.

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