Supplementing Search Operations
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a robust Wide Area Search class led by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, one of the authorities on disaster search and rescue operations. The 3-day course was nothing short of incredible and I highly recommend everyone consider attending the next time this opportunity arises.
Did you know that a missing person is not classified as a wide area search? A wide area search, as defined by FEMA, is comprised of four elements:
- Unknown number of victims
- Large affected area
- Limited availability of professional first responders
- Variety/diversity of resources
Just as important as the search itself, planning for operations is critical to success. In the three days of learning, only a few hours were dedicated to search operations, teaching us that measuring twice ensures cutting once – it is detrimental to the objective if we add chaos to chaos.
Beyond the Class
Not only did I have the honor of receiving knowledge from highly skilled and qualified instructors, but I was also able to build relationships with other community leaders, CERT coordinators, and first responders from around the metroplex.
In addition, and most importantly, we have become smarter as a group and will implement some of these key learning points into our Basic Training and Continuing Education curriculum.