*Search & Rescue - Briefing Form*
"Any simple idea will too often be presented in the most complicated way!"
By: Centurion
03 June 2005

In a well organized search, the Command Team (Overhead Team) will not interact directly with field searchers. The Commanders will brief Team Leads, who will then brief their individual teams based on their specific assignments.

 

A well organized Administrative or Investigations Officer (whoever handles search paperwork) will ensure each Team Leader gets the same information, the same way. In my experience, this means writing it down, photocopying it, handing it out and briefing team leaders based on the written handout. I know it sounds simple, but youíd be surprised how many "macho leaders" will stand at a briefing for 10 or 15 minutes and never take a single note. Iíve heard the phrase "oh, Iíve been doing searches long enough to remember everything you just saidÖ" more times than I care to admit, only to have that same team leader call in a sit-rep on the wrong frequency or gather their team at the wrong rally point for extraction. The other extreme however is just as bad. That would be the team leader who is SO focused on taking notes, that they miss what is actually being said. These people usually spend more time in the field standing around reading their notes with the team, than they do searching. (We often turn these folks into Administrative Support staff pretty quickly and they usually excel there.)

 

So, the form below is what I developed a few years ago to help team leaders and field teams get all the information they need, while still allowing them to focus on the briefing. Team leaders quickly realized the form included all the details, which helped them minimize note taking. I realized I was gathering this information anyway, writing it down on MY note pad anyway, and might as well type it up quickly and just photocopy it for the teams.

 

Keep in mind, in a very large search, a team leader may have a group of searchers they do not know. As a search grows, the Command Team will be working with unknown searchers and even unknown team leaders. So, the more clearly you can present and convey the information, the more likely they will be to understand your instructions, complete their assigned mission and provide valuable debriefing information about the area they searched. The form also allows the Team members to understand what will be expected of them when they return. Many poorly trained or untrained searchers expect to go out looking for the victim, when in truth, they should be searching for clues. Since the Briefing form points out what clues they might find and how to catalog, protect and report them, it immediately raises the clue awareness among all the searchers in the field.

 

Please feel free to copy and paste this form into a Word document for modification for your own purposes and for quick data entry during a search.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Page break - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SAR BRIEFING WORKSHEET

USED TO PREPARE CONCISE, ACCURATE BRIEFINGS TO TEAM LEADERS

"Any simple idea will too often be presented in the most complicated way!"

Situation - search status, current objectives, assumptions, subjectís predicted actions when lost

 

 

 

Subject Information:

Complete physical description Behavioral traits - example: loner, adventurer, shy, etc.

Clothing and equipment Special Circumstances causing search

Physical condition Medical/Health Problems

Mental condition

 

 

 

 

Subject's Trip Plans - where were they going, why, how long did they originally plan to stay?

 

 

Relatives or Associates: - who they are and where they are located

Name, Relationship, Description, Current Location

 

 

 

Media Procedures: - where are they, who is the media/search liaison, instruction if contacted by media

 

 

Terrain, Hazards, Obstacles, Maps, etc. - trails, hills, rivers, railroad tracks, etc.

 

 

Current (and predicted) weather in the search area:

 

 

 

_______________________________ _______________ ____________ am pm

Briefing Officer Date Time

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Page break - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Search Details

Communication - team designators (Blue team, Red team, etc), use of codes (10 codes), frequencies, etc.

Purpose: ________ ________ ________ ________ Ex: Medical

Freq. ________ ________ ________ ________ 144.253

 

Equipment (needed by searchers) & where to find it - radios, GPS, food, maps, logistics officer

 

 

Transportation Details - what vehicles are available for which teams, transport frequencies, Logistics officer, etc.

 

 

Clue Considerations: (see attached instructions)

Sole pattern of footwear How to report clues

Items carried by subject Instructions on logging clues

How to protect clue locations

 

Debriefing / Reporting Details - to whom, when and where to report when you return

 

 

Rescue\Evacuation Plan & Medical Plan - emergency frequency, medical contact

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Page break - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Team Details - Tactical Assignments (by search team)

Approx. how long should the teams be in the field? _________

Specific Search area, where to start, and how to get there

 

Spacing, Type of search: - Ex: hasty search, grid search, bastard search, assist dog team, assist tracking team

 

Search Segment marking procedures - Example, search area is bordered by Hwy 12 on the north, a creek on the west, etc.

 

Teams in bordering search segments - Example, Red team will be to your west w/Leader Mike Smith, Green team to your south, etc.

 

Have other teams searched the area? (implications for tracking, dog teams)

 

Expected Probability of Detection (POD) - Example, you should be 75% sure the subject is NOT in your area when you return

 

When to start, When to stop - What time will your team be put into the field and when will they be extracted?

What to do if subject if found - alive, injured, dead. Instructions in protecting the scene

 

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Page break - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Clue Handling

Footwear

Shoe Type: example, tennis shoe, hiking boot, military boot, sandal, barefoot, dress shoe

Shoe Size: length and width is often better than "size" which varies by manufacturer

Sole Pattern: briefly sketch (or photocopy if possible) the imprint pattern of the bottom of the shoe

Approximate Stride, from heel to heel

 

Items Carried - example, wallet, watch, candy, camping gear, binoculars, books (bird watching/hiking), keys, etc.

 

How to Report Clues

All clues should be reported to the Investigation Officer on frequency ___________ as soon as they are discovered.

Clue reporting should include:

- what clue was discovered

- the GPS coordinates of the clue

- the date and time the clue was discovered

- any observations about the clue made by the team. For example, "Tracker says the footprint looks old but matches the subjectís size."

Instructions on Logging Clues

1. Clue should be digitally photographed immediately, if available. Before it is touched or moved if possible.

2. Clue should be logged on the back of THIS form notingÖ

- the team and specific searcher who discovered the clue,

- the date and time it was found,

- the GPS coordinates of the clue,

- when and who reported the clue via radio to the Investigation Officer,

- how the clue was protected,

- were any other clues discovered in the immediate area.

3. The clue should be protected, or "tagged and bagged", as instructed by the Investigations Officer.

Note, even if the clue is determined to be unrelated trash, it should be packed and removed from the search area after logging the GPS coordinates. Unrelated trash may later be found relevant with further investigation.

4. The teamís Clue Log (usually the back of this form) should be returned to the Debriefing Officer during the debriefing session

How to Protect Clue Locations (after clues have been logged)

1. Flagging tape (biodegradable crepe paper) should be used to mark all subject footprints.

2. Other clues, such as clothing, candy wrappers, personal items, cigarette butts, etc. should be carefully placed in a sealable plastic bag. Searchers should take care NOT to touch the item if possible. Turning the bag inside out and picking up the item is often a good way of preserving the scent article for use with dog teams.

3. The plastic bag should be labeled with a permanent "Sharpie" marker with the following information:

- Search team who discovered the clue

- Search team leaderís name

- Date and time the clue was discovered

- GPS coordinates

- Any special notes or instructions, for example, "candy wrapper was discovered wedged into the fork of a tree about four feet off the ground", etc.

4. Clues and photographs should be taken to the Debriefing Officer as soon as the Search team returns from their assignment.
Centurion



www.alpharubicon.com
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2005 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.