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Search Management Training Program

The Ground Search and Search Management program consists of structured classes of varying levels from basic foundation training to advanced skills. Our facility also offers workshops, individual instruction and opportunities for response agencies, search organizations and individuals to learn about ground search techniques and search management. This not only teaches the responder skills needed to properly search for missing persons, but also it gives agencies an opportunity to work together and understand each other's roles during an incident. These courses are the foundation to any well-rounded search and rescue training program.

Search and Rescue / K-9 Training
Course Descriptions
Effective August 2020

Many of our courses are designed to be taken in sequence, so each level builds on the next. Please give attention to any course prerequisites listed. Any variance from the listed prerequisites must be approved by the IDHS Training section chief.

To register for courses, you must first have a PSID number (K-9s must also have a PSID number). Register for a PSID using the online application. Then, using your PSID and password, log in to the Acadis Portal and browse for IDHS courses. Some prerequisites are offered through FEMA's training website.

Course Legend

Course Prefixes
  • K9xxx indicates courses designed for canine handlers and their canines or those interested in how canines are trained and work.
    • Note:  A dog is not required for a course. Observers welcome.
  • SARxxx indicates ground search and search management courses.
Course Numbers
  • 100 courses are workshops and foundation training.
  • 200 courses are Basic level courses.
  • 300 courses are Intermediate level courses.
  • 400 courses are Advanced level courses.
  • 500 courses are Specialty courses.

Dog standing on rubble

SAR100 Crime Scene Orientation: Blood-Borne Pathogens

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 5 hours

This one-day course is designed to give the student a working knowledge of crime scene procedures, protecting evidence and documentation, and safety of the operator and canine in potential hazardous situations (meth labs, hazmat environments, etc.). Safety in working with and around blood-borne pathogens is covered along with procedures for utilizing personal protective equipment. This course utilizes both lecture and practical sessions.

PREREQUISITES
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)
  • AWR-110 WMD/TERRORISM AWARENESS (or equivalent)
  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AWARENESS

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR101 Search and Rescue Skills Day

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 8 hours

This one-day course is designed to give students an opportunity to perfect their skills in an area selected by the majority of the registered participants. Instructors will be available to assist with basic knots, search techniques, map and compass and other areas where students wish to improve their skills.

PREREQUISITES
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR125 Surface Ice Rescue Awareness

Maximum class size: 25 students
Course length: 8 hours

This one-day course is designed to give the general public and emergency responders information on determining if ice is dangerous or "good ice," preventing and preparing for a possible ice emergency, performing a surface rescue if someone falls through ice, determining the last known location if unable to reach a victim and preparing and helping arriving emergency response personnel, and understanding hypothermia prevention, signs, symptoms, self-survival and treatment.

The intent of the course for emergency responders is to provide information so they can return to their local communities and deliver a similar public service program to locals living near bodies of water. Students should bring appropriate cold-weather gear. The afternoon session will be outdoors with hands-on practice with reaching and throwing devices.

PREREQUISITES
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)

ICS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR200 Ground Search Awareness Techniques III

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 16 hours

This two-day course is designed to introduce the student to the specialized training required for ground search operations. The knowledge and skills topics covered in this awareness course include: Introduction to SAR, SAR management, map and compass, communications, search theory, lost person behavior, SAR resources, clue consciousness, ground search tactics, search operational process and several mock search exercises. This course is based on NASAR standards for searching rural and wilderness environments.

Note: This is not a classroom-only course. Because there are field exercises included, students must come equipped with personal PPE and clothing for any weather, and they should be prepared for physical exertion in the field. All personnel involved in SAR should attend.

PREREQUISITES
  • CPR & FIRST AID
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR205 Basic Emergency Rope Techniques for SAR Personnel

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 8 hours

This one-day course is designed to introduce the student to the basics of life safety rope and webbing, rope rescue hardware and personal equipment, knots, anchors, anchoring systems, low-angle rappelling, edge protection and belay systems. Instructors will teach basic knots including but not limited to the figure eight, family of eights, clove hitch, double fisherman, water knot using one-inch tubular webbing and an improvised Swiss seat.

PREREQUISITES
  • CPR & FIRST AID

Dog walking on rubble

SAR300 Ground Search Operation Techniques II

Maximum class size: 15 students
Course length: 16 hours

This two-day course is designed to expand upon the Awareness course and provides hands-on training for field personnel to effectively participate in ground search operations as a crew member. The knowledge and skills topics covered in this operations course include: SAR management at the crew member level, survival, improvement, self-sufficiency, outdoor environmental hazards, outdoor clothing, personal equipment, backcountry travel skills, land navigation, ground crew search techniques and tactics, tracking lost/missing persons, handling evidence and crime-scene protection, basic knots for SAR, non-technical litter evacuation and an outdoor mock search exercise. This course is based on NASAR standards for searching rural and wilderness environments.

Note: Because several field exercises are included in this course, the student must come equipped for any weather and be prepared for physical exertion in the field.

PREREQUISITES
  • SAR200 GROUND SEARCH AWARENESS TECHNIQUES III
  • ICS 200 (Basic Incident Command)
  • AWR-110 WMD/TERRORISM AWARENESS (or equivalent)
  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AWARENESS

ICS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR400 Ground Search Technician Techniques I

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 16 hours

This two-day course expands upon the Operation course and provides hands-on training for field personnel to effectively participate in ground search operations as a crew member. The knowledge and skills topics covered in this technician course include: SAR management at the crew level, survival, self-sufficiency, outdoor environmental hazards, outdoor clothing, personal equipment, backcountry travel skills, land navigation, ground crew search techniques and tactics, tracking lost/missing persons, handling evidence and crime-scene protection, basic knots for SAR, non-technical litter evacuation and an outdoor mock search exercise. This course is based on NASAR standards for searching rural and wilderness environments.

Note: Because several field exercises are included in this course, the student must come equipped for any weather and be prepared for physical exertion in the field.

PREREQUISITES
  • SAR200 GROUND SEARCH AWARENESS TECHNIQUES III
  • ICS 200 (Basic Incident Command)
  • AWR-110 WMD/TERRORISM AWARENESS (or equivalent)
  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AWARENESS

ICS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR250 Search and Rescue Management: Awareness

Maximum class size: 20 students
Course length: 16 hours

This two-day course is designed to introduce students to the specialized training required for management of search and rescue operations. The knowledge and skills topics covered in this awareness course include: introduction to search management, leadership of management staff, common search management mistakes, operational preplanning, introduction to search theory, initial response to a SAR incident, managing the first operational period, introduction to search planning, introduction to search operations, transition into the second operational period and a tabletop mock search exercise.

PREREQUISITES
  • SAR200 GROUND SEARCH AWARENESS III
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)
  • ICS 200 (Basic Incident Command)
  • AWR-110 WMD/TERRORISM AWARENESS (or equivalent)
  • HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AWARENESS

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR500 Tracking & Signcutting

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 16 hours

This two-day class will introduce the student to the art of finding, identifying and following the evidence of a person’s presence and their direction of travel. Tracking provides the search and rescue responder with invaluable information that may otherwise go unseen. Tracks and clues are numerous, but being able to locate them takes the proper training. This course will help the student to become “track aware” by introducing equipment needed and how it is used, responsibilities of tracking teams, fundamental principals of tracking, the effects of the environment on tracks and identifying various tracks and clues through both classroom and field exercises.

PREREQUISITES
  • SAR300 GROUND SEARCH OPERATION TECHNIQUES II
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR520 Land Navigation: Operations

Maximum class size: 12 students
Course length: 16 hours

Students will review basic map skills before moving on to practice intermediate and advanced techniques. Map and compass are used together in challenging land navigation field exercises. At the end of this course, students will be able to safely and accurately navigate using a variety of maps and systems. This course is designed for SAR crews, police, wildfire personnel, wilderness EMTs, naturalists, storm spotters and more.

Topics include: accurate compass bearings, determining line of travel, bearings and back azimuths, determining distances on the map and on the ground, reading topographical maps, identifying common land features, plotting location with UTM coordinates and GPS.

Note: Please be prepared to stay late. Course includes day and night exercises.

PREREQUISITES
  • CPR & FIRST AID
  • SAR200 GROUND SEARCH AWARENESS III (or St. Vincent Wilderness Medical Course)
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

SAR530 Lost Person Behavior

Maximum class size: 20 students
Course length: 8 hours

During this one-day course, students will be introduced to the latest information and research regarding the lost person behavioral profiles. Particular emphasis is placed on the newer research concerning people with Alzheimer's, despondency, intellectual disabilities or psychosis and abducted children, cross-country skiers and mountain bikers. Students will learn important background information, its implications for search and rescue, how to establish a prevention program, search statistics, behavioral statistics and how to plan a search for each subject type. The participants will have the opportunity to work several practical scenarios.

PREREQUISITES
  • ICS 100 (Introduction to Incident Command)
  • IS 700 (Introduction to NIMS)
  • Active position in which this information will be implemented, such as law enforcement, firefighting, emergency management or search and rescue.

ICS and IS available online at https://training.fema.gov/apply/.

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