Search Techniques

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The likelihood, or probability, that the subject is within a specific segment; expressed as a percentage (e.g. 50% ) or decimal number (e.g. .50 ).

A quick and efficient search by small teams that travel quickly to the likely spots and by the route of least resistance. Commonly called a “hasty search”, or more infrequently an “Immediate Search”.

A very thorough search, with team members shoulder to shoulder on hands and knees, clearing brush down to bare earth and looking for small evidence items.

The elements of a “Sound Sweep Search” include:

An organized, yet rapid, search of a large area. Small teams of three persons are assigned an area. One-person guides on a physical feature such as a trail, creek, road or ridge top or are assigned a compass bearing to follow. The other two-team members guide off that person and search an area to either side, roaming through the brush following the path of least resistance, checking likely spots. The separation of searchers will fluctuate depending on the visibility.

Active search methods include:

A thorough search method but not very efficient. It requires a large number of people to cover a relatively small area with a high probability of detection.

Three elements of “Critical Separation” are:

Searches – distinct from rescues – are primarily driven by the Command Post. Individual search teams are the eyes and ears of the search, but cannot see the entire effort, or the strategic priorities.

Search methods not defined as “active” are called:

The searcher's forced concentration on the small illuminated field of a flashlight; the nighttime environmental effects on footprints and tracks; the effects of cool nighttime temperature, on travel for both people and animals; and the effect of a quieter environment on searcher and subject hearing; all constitute an advantage to searching at night.

The location of a confirmed visual sighting.

What to do when a clue is located (check all that apply):

The most recent place a search subject is known to have been, based on incontrovertible evidence. For example, the last place a known set of the search subject's tracks were followed to, or the search subject's abandoned vehicle.

The probability of finding clues (assuming that clues exist), given the nature of the search and the type of resources employed; expressed as a percentage (e.g. 50% ) or decimal number (e.g. .50 ).

Disadvantages to searching at night include a higher risk to searchers, and to the subject; overlooking, or accidentally destroying vital clues; increased apprehension in the subject and searchers; and increased control problems for searchers.

Four (4) reasons why searchers look for clues rather than just the missing subject include:

A point on the search map where the planner or IC indicates the start of the search

Last updated on June 29, 2017