Member Skills & Experience


Our Membership

Membership is generally by invitation. As of the summer of 2021, we have:

  • 24 active members
  • 4 advisors from around the state

All of our members belong to their local SAR team. Since our work can be remote or onsite, many members have never met in person! Roles can be any variety of things from K9 handler, ground searcher, operations manager, radio operator, etc. They each bring an extensive knowledge and expertise in the art of search to our team.

Skills and Experience

Qualities we look for in a team member:

  • SAR Planning Experience
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Technical mapping experience
  • Solid analytical abilities

Team Roles & Qualifications

Many of the missions that our members go on cover multiple days and involve days of planning before we ever reach the search location. We work closely alongside local incident command staff and county sheriff’s departments, all with the goal of bringing home the lost and the missing. Our members need to fill many roles.

Research Analyst


Conduct, analyze, and present research on: Lost Person Behavior, weather and local conditions, detailed subject information.


Experience with SAR operations; strong internet skills; training in Lost Person Behavior; basic search planning courses.

Mapping Analyst


Perform technical mapping, update and maintain search map; including data transfer, plotting coordinates, using multiple map layers.


Excellent SARTopo mapping skills; strong analytical skills; experience with SAR operations; strong computer skills.

Search Planning Analyst


Use statistical and deductive input to plan search scenarios, objectives, and search areas. Perform terrain analysis. Evaluate previous search actions; maintain search situational awareness.


Strong SAR planning experience; strong mapping skills; excellent analytical skills; strong communication skills and computer skills. Formal training in search planning.

Search Theorist


Apply formal search planning theory to guide search planning efforts.


Strong SAR planning experience; strong mapping skills. Formal training in search planning and in application of formal search theory.

Incident Team Lead


Supervise all SSPU operations during a search incident. Lead search planning efforts; serve as primary contact with search Incident Commander; assume role as on scene PLANS Chief if requested.


Excellent leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. Strong SAR planning experience. Formal training in search planning and application of formal search theory.