- If someone you know is lost, call for help at once -- not as a last resort. Contact the nearest forest ranger, police department, sheriff's office, or other local authorities.
- Give authorities all the information you have - where the person was last seen, the travel plans of that person, and what clothing was worn. Provide any special tips, such as behavior patterns, personal problems, and medical needs. The information will remain confidential and may help locate the person.
- In case a SAR dog team is called in, make sure that NO ONE -- not even a police officer -- touches the lost person's clothing or sleeping bag. Use a long stick to pick up the items and put them into a CLEAN paper or plastic bag, one item to a bag. Keep the bags cool. The items may be used as "scent guides" by the dogs. If more than one person is lost, put scent guides for each person in separate bags and label each with the persons name.
- Try to keep all people and motor vehicles away from the area where the person was last seen. Too much activity can destroy tracks, and exhaust fumes may impair the dog's ability to pick up the person's trail.
- Due to a dog's ultra-sensitive hearing, night vision, endurance, and keen sense of smell, they have a key role in SAR efforts. It is up to the public agency to determine when to call a SAR dog team. But it is up to you to provide scent guides and other information.
- Trained SAR dogs use either air-scent or trailing to find people. Trailing dogs search for a specific person by following scent on the ground and surrounding vegetation. Air-scenting dogs scan the air for ANY human scent, not just that of a particular person.
NASAR web site:nasar.org
For publications contact the NASAR Bookstore:
4500 Southgate Pl, Ste 100,
Chantilly, VA 20151-1714.