Florida Orienteering
Search and Rescue Plan

Event Coordinator's Responsibilities

  1. Maintain a list of phone numbers of search resources (Park Ranger, Sheriff's Office, etc.)
  2. Verify a search is necessary.
  3. Supervise (or designate another to supervise) the conduct of the initial THREE stages of the search.
  4. Establish a search base at the Start (or Finish, or Registration area) and remain there until relieved by authorized search personnel.
  5. Conduct initial interviews with all available competitors (and others in the area) to establish Point Last Seen and Last Known Position.
  6. Recruit experienced orienteers for Hasty Search. Establish ground rules for signaling:
    1. Three long whistle blasts at 1 to 2 minute intervals to signal for help;
    2. 5 to 10 short blasts of car horn at 1 to 2 minute intervals to signal searchers to return to base.

Determine the Need for a Search

  1. Check control card stubs and start list to monitor any 'overdue' competitors.
  2. Compare registration of vehicles/license numbers to verify that subjects have not simply left without checking in at finish.
  3. Identify, to the extent possible, who is lost, with descriptions, and interview attendees for acquaintances who may know the subjects habits/abilities/whereabouts.

Stage I - Prepare for Search

  1. Notify authorities that a search may be necessary and inform them of steps being taken.
  2. Identify, as much as possible, the subject(s) age, physical condition, shoe size and type, clothing and equipment carried. Brief searchers with this information and record for future use.
  3. Protect scent articles. DO NOT TOUCH or relocate possible scent articles, wait for search dog handler to collect them in the event dogs are used.
  4. Estimate distance traveled and prepare a perimeter map identifying bordering roadways and rights of way.
  5. Initiate confinement. Place observers on roadways and trails the subject is likely to cross. Instruct them to take care not to destroy possible sign such as footprints.

Stage II - Hasty Search

  1. Assign teams of two to walk or jog the lost person(s) course in opposite directions.
  2. Instruct teams to pause frequently looking ahead, back and side to side while using voice or single whistle blasts.
  3. Establish a time for searchers to return to the search base.
Stage III - Notification and Transfer of Search to Responsible Agency
  1. Notify Authorities that a search is required.
  2. Transfer information regarding the subject to the individual responsible for coordinating the search.
  3. Support the search as required by the responsible authorities.