Rainier Redoubt: WA State Search and Rescue Competency Criteria

Rainier Redoubt has posted some summary information on the core competency criteria for volunteers who work search and rescue (SAR) teams throughout the state.

Click here to download the state document on the core competency criteria. (pdf)

Washington State has established Search and Rescue (SAR) Emergency Worker Core Competency Criteria for personnel who volunteer to work with SAR Teams throughout the state. The skills required of a SAR volunteer include both classroom knowledge and Field Performance Criteria.

The Field Performance Criteria required of SAR Team personnel are also an excellent skill set for anyone who hikes, camps, hunts, or otherwise spends time in remote areas. Below are some of the Field Performance Criteria from the WA State SARVAC Document.

Do you have these skills?

Survival Skills

1. Build a fire using materials found in the field and carried in a mission ready pack/kit. The fire must be constructed in a manner that will provide personal warmth; or team warmth; or warmth for a found subject for 8 to 12 hours (fire or stove – local regulations will be the guidance factor).
2. Indentify fuel for fire to provide heat and location identification for 12 to 24 hours, fuel sources must be from the field.
3. Heat and provide warm fluids to a team member and/or the found subject (fire or stove – local regulations will be the guidance factor).
4. Use any three (3) emergency signaling methods, plus one (1) emergency aircraft signaling method.
5  Deploy and erect a shelter that is well marked and visible to nearby searchers, durable enough to protect from wind, rain, or snow, using materials carried in a mission ready pack/kit and/or found in the field. Shelter must be sustainable for 12 to 18 hours for the SAR member, members, or subject.
6. Locate or identify alternate shelter (natural or other field sources of shelter).
7. The equipment needed for emergency pack/kit and describe their use (county specific list of equipment), the trainee will be asked to remove certain specified items and describe their use. (Reference county SAR field operations guide or county SAR specific protocol for equipment).
8. Tie three (3) basic knots of the five listed in the training.

Radio Communications

1. Identify the Push-to-Talk switch.
2. Identify the Channel/Frequency selector.
3. Change the radio’s batteries.
4. Turn the radio on select radio frequency as identified in the communications briefing (ICS 205).
5. Select the channel as requested by search command (frequency change).
6. Change radio channel or frequency to a predefined frequency.
7. Select state SAR frequency and a command and control frequency (either a county specific or state-wide incident command and control frequency – {i.e. OSCCR –V-TAC – V-CALL}).

Land Navigation

1. Orient a map, compensating for declination.
2. Use a scale to measure distance on a map.
3. Identify five elements of the legend on a topographic map.
4. Read contour lines on a topographic map and identify their relationship to physical objects on the ground.
5. Plot a bearing on a map.
6. Plot their location using a map and compass
7. Determine the bearing between two points and the back azimuth on a map.
8. Adjust for declination (compass).
9. Demonstrate the ability to take a bearing on a selected object, expressing it in both true and magnetic degrees (compass).
10. Plot a coordinate using the primary coordinate system in your area of operation (lat/long, UTM, National Grid).
11. Demonstrate the ability to navigate between four (4) selected points in your primary search area for a minimum distance of .5 mile (or 1/2 mile) with no more than four (4) degrees of deviation (using the appropriate tools, i.e. compass, map, GPS).
12. Demonstrate the ability to navigate around an obstacle blocking your selected path while staying on course (compass).

GPS Operation

1. Mark, edit, and delete a waypoint in a GPS receiver.
2. Change the batteries of a GPS receiver.
3. Change coordinate systems and datum with in a GPS unit.
4. Turn on a GPS and acquire a coordinate that accurately represents your location.
5. Set their GPS for True North

First Aid

1. Properly assess patient’s medical status within the scope of training.
2. Demonstrate 2 methods to control bleeding.
3. Demonstrate the method to immobilize a fracture of the upper and lower arm.
4. Demonstrate the method to immobilize a fracture of the ankle.
5. Demonstrate method to prepare a subject for litter evacuation.

Additional First Aid and Medical Accreditation Programs

First Aid / Emergency Medical – Programs Recognized – If the county chooses to use and implement these programs –  The list below is not inclusive, it is simply for reference.

  • First Aid American Red Cross (First Aid, CPR, BBP)
  • First Aid American Heart Association (First Aid, CPR, BBP)
  • American Red Cross – Wilderness First Aid
  • MOFA – American Red Cross Mountaineering Oriented First Aid
  • NOLS –  Advanced First Aid
  • NOLS –  Wilderness EMT
  • Wilderness First Responder (Approved Provider)
  • Wilderness EMT (Approved Provider)
  • Outdoor Emergency Care – National Ski Patrol

State Certified EMS Providers

First Responder / Emergency Medical Responder

Note First Aid  (FA), Blood Borne Pathogen (BBP), and Automatic Electronic Defibulator (AED)  classes need to be from a Washington State recognized, certified, and credentialed organization and/or provider.