U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Resource: Mountain Search and Rescue Team
Category: Search & Rescue (ESF #9)
Kind: Team
Minimum Capabilities (Component) Minimum Capabilities
(Metric)
Type I Type II Type III Type IV Other
Team Personnel

Field team leader; Field team members; Medical specialist

Field team leader; Field team members; Medical specialist

Field team leader; Field team members; Medical specialist

Field team leader; Field team members; Medical specialist

 
Personnel Training Navigation Training

Same as Type II

Same as Type III

Same as Type IV, plus proficiency in back country navigation including: The ability to triangulate a position, ascertain a UTM, utilize GPS, and follow a route to a new location using a topographical map and compass

Navigation (map and compass)

 
Personnel Training Survival Training

Operational and technical proficiency in personal survival in mountainous terrain and snow and ice environments

Operational and technical proficiency in personal survival in mountainous terrain and snow and ice environments

Technical proficiency in personal survival in mountainous terrain and snow and ice environments

Technical proficiency in personal survival in mountainous terrain

 
Personnel Training Technical Training

Same as Type II, plus proficient at estimating the mechanical forces involved in technical rescue systems and estimating factors of safety; Proficiency in the use, placement and analysis of mechanical anchors and anchor systems; Proficiency in the use of highlines; Proficiency in the use of slings, etriers, Prusik hitches and mechanical ascenders; Proficiency in the organization and direction of technical litter evacuation

Same as Type III, plus understanding of the mechanical forces involved in technical rescue systems; Proficiency in the selection and setup of rescue anchor systems; Proficiency in technical litter evacuation and transport; Litter descents (on steep, vertical, and overhanging rock, on scree and snow, and traversing); Lowering of a subject without a litter; Raising a subject or litter; Knowledge of procedures involved with helicopter transport

Proficiency in bagging, coiling, throwing and storing static and dynamic ropes; Proficiency in tying common knots, and knowledge of their applications and strength efficiencies; Proficiency in search techniques including in hasty and line search techniques, directing line searches, and probe lines

 

 
Personnel Training Alpine Training

Proficiency in winter camping in any area, including above timberline; Proficiency in snow and ice climbing; Proficiency in avalanche search and rescue, including recognition of avalanche hazards, avalanche search and rescue organization and leadership, scuff searches, use of SAR dogs; Proficiency in high and low-angle, technical snow and ice rescues and evacuations

Ability to recognize avalanche hazards and to perform avalanche search and rescue including probe lines and avalanche; Avalanche awareness training

Understanding of the fundamentals of mountain weather; Avalanche awareness training

Basic understanding of mountain weather; Ability to walk in mountainous terrain; Ability to backpack personal equipment plus one rope at least four miles with an elevation gain of at least 2000 feet; Avalanche awareness training

 
Personnel Basic Training

Same as Type II, plus technical proficiency in one-person rescue and self-rescue techniques; Proficiency in mantracking; Ability to integrate into and operate using ICS; Ability to plan, organize and direct search and rescue missions

Same as Type III, plus ability to operate using ICS

Same as Type IV

Proficiency in search techniques; Awareness of mantracking and maintaining site integrity; Understanding of the ICS

 
Medical Specialist Training

National standard EMT curriculum; ACLS, BTLS

National standard EMT-B curriculum or advanced wilderness first responder; BTLS

Same as Type IV

National standard first responder or wilderness first responder curriculum; BTLS

 
Team Sustained Operations

60 hours

48 hours

24 hours

12 hours

 
Team Rescue Capabilities

Same as Type II, plus: Highly trained rescue personnel with multipitch, high-angle experience on vertical rock, ice, and steep snow

Same as Type III, plus single-pitch, high-angle rock rescue

Backcountry, low-angle scree evacuation

Trained rescue personnel with experience in non-technical backcountry evacuation/carryouts

 
Team Search Capabilities

Capable of searching during the day or night; Capable of searching any terrain, including severe rock; Competent IC and section chief

Capable of searching steep, timbered terrain, excluding severe rock, day or night; Competent search team leaders/technicians

Self-sustaining for 48 hours in all weather/terrain, except severe winter/rock.

Capable of searching moderate terrain; May be outdoorsmen with basic training

 
Team Rescue Equipment Supplies and Materials

Same as Type II, plus 8-10 ropes of various lengths (200-400 ft)

Same as Type III, plus 6-8 ropes of various lengths and a full complement of rescue/climbing gear

Same as Type IV, plus 4-6 ropes of various lengths

Harnesses; Helmets; Basic hardware; Rope; Radio communications on a common frequency

 
Search Equipment Supplies and Materials

Equipped to be self-sustaining for 60 hours in all environments; Radio communications on common frequency

Equipped to be self-sustaining for 48 hours in all environments; Radio communications on common frequency

Equipped to be self-sustaining for 24 hours in all weather/terrain, except severe winter/rock

Equipped to be self-sustaining for 12 hours in all weather/terrain, except severe winter/rock

 
Personal Equipment Supplies and Materials

Same as Type II, plus food for 60 hours

Same as Type III, plus water container of two- liter capacity and/or quantity of water appropriate for the conditions; Food for 48 hours; Second light source

Same as Type IV

Appropriate clothes and footgear for both fair and foul weather; Water container of 1-liter capacity and/or quantity of water appropriate for the conditions; Day pack; Five large, heavy-duty plastic trash bags; Food for 24 hours; Headlamp or flashlight; Lighter, matches and candle, or equivalent waterproof fire source; Knife; Compass; Personal First Aid Kit; Waterproof pen/pencil and paper; Whistle; Two pairs plastic or vinyl examination gloves

 
Medical Equipment Supplies and Equipment

As appropriate for level of training, as applied in wilderness environment and meeting local protocols and requirements

As appropriate for level of training, as applied in wilderness environment and meeting local protocols and requirements

As appropriate for level of training, as applied in wilderness environment and meeting local protocols and requirements

As appropriate for level of training, as applied in wilderness environment and meeting local protocols and requirements

 

Comments:

Mountain Search and Rescue Team:  Search for and rescue people in trouble either above the timberline or in high-angle areas below the timberline, which can include glacier, crevasse, backcountry and alpine search and rescue, and educate the population in safe activities so they will be able to avoid the dangers that result in the need for rescue.

Definitions
GPS Global Positioning System
Navigation The practice of charting a course for a group of people (team) using basic tools such as a map and compass.



National Mutual Aid & Resource Management Initiative
Search and Rescue