Search and Rescue Merit Badge
Requirements for the Search and Rescue merit badge:
- Do the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- Demonstrate knowledge to stay found and prevent yourself from becoming the subject of a SAR mission.
- How does the buddy system help in staying found and safe?
- How can knowledge of the area and its seasonal weather changes affect your plans?
- Explain how the Ten Essentials are similar to a "ready pack."
- Discuss the following with your counselor:
- The difference between search and rescue
- The difference between PLS (place last seen) and LKP (last known point)
- The meaning of these terms:
- AFRCC (Air Force Rescue Coordination Center)
- IAP (Incident Action Plan)
- ICS (Incident Command System)
- Evaluating search urgency
- Establishing confinement
- Scent item
- Area air scent dog
- Briefing and debriefing
- 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.
- 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)
- Identify four types of search and rescue teams and discuss their use or role with your counselor. Then do the following:
- 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.
- Describe the process and safety methods of working around at least two of the specialized SAR teams you identified above.
- Explain the differences between wilderness, urban, and water SARs.
- Discuss the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system, latitude, and longitude. Then do the following:
- Using a 1:24,000 scale USGS topographic map, show that you can identify a location of your choice using UTM coordinates.
- Using a 1:24,000 scale map, ask your counselor to give you a UTM coordinate on the map, then identify that location.
- 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.
- 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.
- Choose a hypothetical scenario, either one presented in this merit badge pamphlet or one created by your counselor. Then do the following:
- Complete an incident objectives form for this scenario.
- Complete an Incident Action Plan (IAP) to address this scenario.
- 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).
- After completing 8a-8c, discuss the hypothetical scenario with your counselor.
- Discuss with your counselor the terms hasty team and hasty search. Then do the following:
- 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.
- When it's over, hold a team debriefing to discuss the hasty search. Discuss problems encountered, successful and unsuccessful tactics, and ideas for improvement.
- 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
Dec 20, 2012 - Bob Stumpf
I retired from the US Navy as a SCPO. SAR swimmer(helicopters) 22 years, with swift water and inland (rappelling, short hauls) rescue training under my belt and the crew chief on 4 diffrent platforms. This merit badge is very good. It visits many different types of teams out there. I will be teaching this at summer camp this year (2013) as well as serving as the Aquatic's Director 6th year. I am very excited about this MB. This will tie in very well with first aid, emergency preparedness, wilderness first aid, and map and compass. Bob Stumpf (SCPO, AW, AC Ret.) "So other may live"Dec 21, 2012 - David Theriault
Bob, Thank you for your service. Where are you located? We are Columbus, GA Troop 169 David Chief Warrant Officer (Ranger Ret) Team Rubicon VolunteerFeb 04, 2013 - Charles "Chase" Chambliss
Senior Chief - As the WO (Whoa) said, "Thanks for your service." I took the easy road. Retired Navy (four years, two months) and Marines (for the duration); Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Yemen shore duties. Troop 300 in Melbourne, FL is pretty excited about this opportunity also. They have a campout coming up in mid-March, out at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Air Force 920th Rescue Squadron has volunteered to come on out and do some instruction and demonstration work with the boys. It's the old salts that make these merit badges interesting for the boys, and it lays a good primer for their future interest in going into the armed services. Keep up the good work gentlemen, and God bless all your endeavors. Semper Fi, ChaseMar 05, 2013 - Al Websteer
Since we're having a Navy gathering this QM1(DV) has a cousin flying in the 920th (former HH-60 and now 130's. I am currently Section Chief (PLANS, OPS and LOGS) and AOBD and EMS-First Responder working in SAR. I'd really like to be able to work with the Scouts to help the young lads get a good Merit Badge and am pursuing how to do that.Nov 30, 2013 - Dave
We are having trouble with #5. The FEMA website will let some of our boys take the course but not the test to get the printed certificate. Others have got the test but were not able print it, and I have also had complaints from parents that the FEMA site asks for personal information like social security numbers before a certificate will print. The printable version of the test never works for downloading either. I also believe that FEMA has changed some things to NIMS now instead of ICS. Any suggestions on how to complete this requirement with all of the difficulties we are having?Feb 02, 2014 - Concerned
I think its ridicukous that BSA would require our young scouters to give up personally identifiable information to earn a Merit Badge! what is wrong with National! Why approve this? Given what's going on in the world with high profile web site hacks, why put our children at risk for identity fraud and future financial chaos? So much for youth protection! PLEASE can't we have a BSA training program and test that a certified counselor can implement? Is that too much to ask?Feb 07, 2014 - James
Does anyone have a good exercise out there for req 9a?
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