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Where Do I Get Training To Be A SAR Volunteer?

EMA (Emergency Management Agency) teaches the courses at local emergency management agencies and federally with FEMA. Contact your county's EMA director or check you state's EMA schedule of courses for dates and times near you.

Wilderness search skills/survival skills (general) - NASAR courses represent some of the best combinations of wilderness  SAR- and personal survival/safety skills. Once you've been introduced to SAR and personal safety skills, local teams conduct their own training to improve upon that training base.  Also, state agencies (emergency management, sherrif's office, and local fire and rescue) conduct training in basic or introductory search and rescue.

Land navigation/GPS - An excellent starting point is your local REI store. REI stores offer some excellent and free training in the use of maps and compasses as well as Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. That's especially important for the ins-and-outs of using your GPS. Get involved in local orienteering clubs or Geo-Caching for fun times but also to learn your equipment better.

NIMS Incident Command System - FEMA's Independent Study Program (ISP) website is your first stop in satisfying your ICS (Incident Command System) training requirements. FEMA IS offers free, simple, and quick online courses that you'll need to function at an incident.In some states, these courses are becoming required:

IS 100.a Introduction to the Incident Command System
IS 200.a ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
IS 700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction
IS 800.b National Response Framework An Introduction
IS 809 Emergency Support Function (ESF) #9 - Search and Rescue
Emergency Medicine - At an absolute minimum you should seek a course that is at least an equivalent to the 6.5-hour "Standard First Aid with CPR for Adults" course from the American Red Cross (ARC). A team standard ought to be a course that meets the 1995 U.S. Department of Transportation First Responder training requirements. These classes are often described as "First Responder" course or the ARC "Emergency Response" course.

Communications/Amateur "ham" radio use - The best "one-stop shopping" for this is the Amateur Radio Relay League      (ARRL)  website. There's complete information on rules, classes, and testing throughout Georgia. Ham radios are a big part of the volunteer SAR communications network. And the modern, hand-held, two-meter units make their operation very easy by permitting pre-programming of frequently used frequencies. That being said, very few volunteers become truly proficient at manual programming of frequencies on-the-fly. That happens a lot when going outside your usual response area.

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