The last newsletter I spoke to you about the “Science of SAR” and the benefits of being able to interpret the data. In SAR, there are two categories of data: search and planning. Both are equally important. Search data is the information needed for searchers in the field and planning data is the information required for good search planning.

Search Data is where the Lost Person Questionnaire gives us the details that we need to find clues that may be left behind by our missing person. Samples include; the type of footwear that will let us envision the tread pattern we should be looking for and items that may have been discarded by our missing person such as gum wrappers, cigarette butts or medication containers. Using this document ensures you don’t miss any information.  There are difficult questions to ask a family member in this document but the details are very important, especially if it turns into a criminal case.

Planning data is the information required for good search planning. For a search to be successful it must be coordinated and systematic. Every search should be the same, but only with different participants. The search should always start from the “Point Last Seen” or “Last Known Position”.  From there we will define the category of a subject we are looking for and the “Search Urgency”.  It’s the job of the search manager to look at these two types of data and make decisions based on the big picture.  Often the search has been described as solving the classic “Who done it?” mystery.

When we put these two forms of data together the formal search planning starts. Recording what has been done and by whom in your SARdocs documentation system, coupled with the GPS downloads into QuoVadis 7 will allow you to see your search effort down to the metre. This use of technology for good will allow your SAR teams to do what’s important and search versus being burdened by administration. Remember our planning should support the Mission “To find the missing person as quickly as possible and in the best possible condition.”