Volunteer CEMA Search and Rescue Team
Chatham Emergency Management Agency's Search and Rescue
(SAR) Team continues to grow and boasts nearly 35 active members. Since
the team's inception in May 2010, members have assisted law enforcement in
dozens of searches involved missing persons.
Team members are nationally certified in Search and Rescue.
The training members undergo focuses on man-tracking skills, clue
identification, route and area searches, land navigation and rope skills.
The training is the National Association of Search and Rescue's (NASAR) second
certification level, SARTECH II. In addition to the training, members of
the SAR team are required to carry a fully equipped 24 hour pack as mandated by
NASAR in order to receive certification. Other members have also attended
Wilderness Search in Rescue in North Georgia. Members spent several
physically enduring days training in Sweetwater Creek State Park where they
focused on map and compass skills, night search techniques as well as rough
terrain search skills.
Ongoing training for the team doesn't stop. CEMA SAR Team meets regularly and conducts exercises that are as close to a real life search as possible. In December 2011 the team was part of a Helicopter Rescue Training exercise conducted by Southside Fire Department that took place near Skidaway Island. The SAR Team aided SSFD and the United States Coast Guard in the exercise mission and the "stranded" person was lifted to safety. The team has also attended Lost Person Behavior training, which aids SAR members if ever confronted with searching for an Alzheimer's patient or even a person with Autism. SAR Members have also participated in Search Management Training. CEMA Duty Officers also attended training, in order to work along side both SAR members and police if needed to assist in a search. Last year Chatham County Commissioners recognized the CEMA SAR Team for helping law enforcement in a search that ended successfully.
It's the commitment from team members and their ongoing training that provides local public safety officials with an additional resource. It's CEMA's goal to continue the mission of the SAR Team, so when that call comes again, the team will be ready.
If you are interested in joining the SAR team, contact CEMA's office at 912-201-4500. You must be in good physical health and be available for call-outs.
2013 SAR Training Calendar
CEMA SAR Team is now offering the Hug-a-Tree Program. The free program teaches children how not to become lost and what to do if they do get lost. If you are interested in bringing the program to your school, church, community group or boy/girl scout meeting, click here for more information.