Search and Rescue Merit Badge Requirements and Worksheet

Search and Rescue Merit Badge

Search and Rescue Merit Badge

January, 2014

Requirements for the Search and Rescue merit badge:

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while participating in search and rescue (SAR) activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in SAR activities, including: snakebites, dehydration, shock, environmental emergencies such as hypothermia or heatstroke, blisters, and ankle and knee sprains.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge to stay found and prevent yourself from becoming the subject of a SAR mission.
    1. How does the buddy system help in staying found and safe?
    2. How can knowledge of the area and its seasonal weather changes affect your plans?
    3. Explain how the Ten Essentials are similar to a "ready pack."
  3. Discuss the following with your counselor:
    1. The difference between search and rescue
    2. The difference between PLS (place last seen) and LKP (last known point)
    3. The meaning of these terms:
      1. AFRCC (Air Force Rescue Coordination Center)
      2. IAP (Incident Action Plan)
      3. ICS (Incident Command System)
      4. Evaluating search urgency
      5. Establishing confinement
      6. Scent item
      7. Area air scent dog
      8. Briefing and debriefing
  4. Find out who in your area has authority for search and rescue and what their responsibilities are. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain the official duties of a search and rescue team.
  5. Working with your counselor, become familiar with the Incident Command System. You may use any combination of resource materials, such as printed or online. Discuss with your counselor how features of the ICS compare with Scouting's patrol method. (See ICS-100 online training)
  6. Identify four types of search and rescue teams and discuss their use or role with your counselor. Then do the following:
    1. Interview a member of one of the teams you have identified above, and learn how this team contributes to a search and rescue operation. Discuss what you learned with your counselor.
    2. Describe the process and safety methods of working around at least two of the specialized SAR teams you identified above.
    3. Explain the differences between wilderness, urban, and water SARs.
  7. Discuss the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system, latitude, and longitude. Then do the following:
    1. Using a 1:24,000 scale USGS topographic map, show that you can identify a location of your choice using UTM coordinates.
    2. Using a 1:24,000 scale map, ask your counselor to give you a UTM coordinate on the map, then identify that location.
    3. Show that you can identify your current location using the UTM coordinates on a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and verify it on a 1:24,000 scale map.
    4. Determine a hypothetical place last seen, and point out an area on your map that could be used for containment using natural or human-made boundaries.
  8. Choose a hypothetical scenario, either one presented in this merit badge pamphlet or one created by your counselor. Then do the following:
    1. Complete an incident objectives form for this scenario.
    2. Complete an Incident Action Plan (IAP) to address this scenario.
    3. Discuss with your counselor the behavior of a lost person and how that would impact your incident action plan (for example, the differences between searching for a young child versus a teen).
    4. After completing 8a–8c, discuss the hypothetical scenario with your counselor.
  9. Discuss with your counselor the terms hasty team and hasty search. Then do the following:
    1. Plan and carry out a practice hasty search—either urban or wilderness—for your patrol or troop. Include the following elements in the search: clue awareness, evidence preservation, tracking the subject, and locating the subject using attraction or trail sweep.
    2. When it’s over, hold a team debriefing to discuss the hasty search. Discuss problems encountered, successful and unsuccessful tactics, and ideas for improvement.
  10. Find out about three career or volunteer opportunities in search and rescue. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this professional or volunteer position. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this position might interest you.

Search and Rescue Worksheet

 Jun 07, 2012 - Nate Leff
I can't wate to start on it!!!!
Jun 07, 2012 - Garrett Hughes
Cannot wait.  I am currently involved in ESAR and also a life scout.
Jun 09, 2012 - Logan F. Crooks
Finally! An actual Hardcore Badge. Can't wait to get it. They (BSA HQ) should keep streaming out these Hardcore Badges.
Jun 21, 2012 - timmy
cool new badge to extream  for me now but maybe when i get older good luck guys
Jul 10, 2012 - justice merritt
I can't wait to get this badge.

Jul 19, 2012 - Tim
A great idea for another more adventurous MB. These need to keep coming to continuously challenge older scouts and generate more interest in community service in the event of emergencies. AWESOME! and can't wait to see the requirements published as we have many scouts in my unit who are asking if it has been released so that we can begin working on it as a troop.
Jul 24, 2012 - Wayne Espinoza
This is a great new merit badge idea. As a former scout in upstate New York we were trained in basics of SAR and at times volunteered to assist in SAR operations. Many scouting skills cross over in the SAR field.

I now find myself engrossed as a volunteer involved in K9 SAR utilizing my Scouting skills.
Jul 25, 2012 - Thomas Taylor
A outstanding idea, glad to see some new merit badges..... was suppose to be out in June... still not here yet.
Jul 28, 2012 - Alex Ostojic
While I was doing NAYLE at Rocky Mountain Scout Camp (Philmont), I was able to complete all requirements for this merit badge except 4, 5, 6c, 8a, 8d, and 10. It's amazing and FUN!!!
Jul 29, 2012 - Dan Swearingen
Alex -

I'm with Maryland Search and Rescue and we are affiliated with Venture Crew 616 (many of us are adult scouters with VC616). I've been looking for the SAR Merit Badge Requirements and haven't been able to find them. Could you please have your merit badge counselor contact me ( Thanks so much.
Aug 08, 2012 - tyler heath
A hard merit badge. If your wanting to be a P.J. then you should get this. This is what they do all day. P.J.'s search and rescue people allday everyday. Anyway grate merit badge. Good challenging merit badge for my stake, my ward, my troop, and my self. Can't wait so exiciting. I was at the confrence in early june when they said,"Now it's time to reviel the new and updated merit badges" my heart dropped. I made a commitment to my self to be the first one to get the merit badge outof my stake. I will get it no matter what.  
Aug 18, 2012 - Richard Sousa
MB came out to our local store yesterday. Baught the book and was kind of let down. Not at all like what i thought it would be like. "High Speed"- NO, "HArd" - NO, "This is what PJ's do all day" - NO. For a youth and an unknowing adult it is a good learning tool. If it is done withthe right councilor, yes it could be very fun. I think it does what all MB's are ment to do, give the youth an idea of what the job, hobby or interest would be like to do. I can see revisions needed and improvements to come. Coming from a Firefighter/Paramedic. I also do USAR and Wilderness SAR.
Sep 03, 2012 - Chris Hadland
What a GREAT merit badge. My own experience in Boy Scouts (& Explorers) has led to 15 plus years of SAR involvement, with my current position as a coordinator for my local county Sheriff's SAR team. Being part of a mountaineering Explorer Post when I was younger, I happened upon SAR situations, some where I realized I didn't know how to properly help others (or myself) which led to my involvement in SAR. As a young Explorer, my life was forever changed after rock climbing the Nose route of El Capitan, the story of which can be found in the 1997 August edition of Boys Life. For those that don't understand, merit badges are meant to be an introduction to a skill, not an substitute for proper training, good judgement and common sense.
Sep 03, 2012 - Scouter Paul
Chris - thanks for sharing the link to your Boys' Life story.  Quite an exciting adventure!
Sep 20, 2012 - David Given
I was a member of the Civil Air Patrol for twelve years (as an adult) and involved in SAR and Civil Defense.  I'm glad the BSA is now getting involved in this activity.  Our local sheriff's department controls all SAR activities and generally insists on volunteers to go through their training and certification process.
As an aside - is there any interest in establishing a "Wilderness First Aid" that complements the Wilderness Survival MB?  It could include elements of Advanced First Aid as well as methods for dealing with emergencies when 9-1-1 is not readily available.
Sep 25, 2012 - Charles Matthews, ASM
Being a Firefighter/EMT for several years I am really excited to see the Scouts bringing this merit badge to life.  How many times at summer camp does a scout wonder off and we have to look for him and keep the other scouts safe also.  This will bring a new deminsion to the table.
Sep 27, 2012 - Dennis Likens ASM T1489
Teach a lot of merit badges related to my history. But this, 20 years active duty Coast Guard and Inland SAR school graduate will provide me the tools and knowledge to share my experience and knowledge of this important badge with those boys seeking to complete it. Putting together my package now and will offer it soon to our troop and others around the Detroit Metro area.
Nov 11, 2012 - Kelby Lake
Having been a volunteer in SAR for over 12yrs, being SAR Tech I certified, and a former Instructor for NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue); I am elated to learn BSA has developed this merit badge. I am looking forward to teaching our scouts about this profession and them being rewarded with a merit badge.
Apr 09, 2013 - Timothy Speer
I will be teaching SAR merit badge at summer camp this year I am a firefighter/ EMT-P I been involved in SAR  for many years I a Eagle Scout wish would had this mb when I was younger well I get  to teach so that just as good
May 16, 2013 - Tyler Tucker
how do we get certification for completing training

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