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* Emergency Response International Sponsors SARNEWS

* NSARC Releases Sweep Width Study for Ground SAR

* NPS Ranger Jeff Christensen Died in Line of Duty Accident

* International SAR Database Collection Continues

* Earthquake Prediction Tool

* Online Emergency Photo Library

* Mother's Wrongful Death SAR Claim Rejected

* Model Policy and Procedure for Missing and Abducted Children Released

* Cases of Children and Car Entrapment

* NOAA's August Update Increases Hurricane Season Outlook

* Preliminary List of Federal Preparedness Grant Programs Now Available

* Initial Research Findings from Sumatra Tsunami

* In Case of Emergency (ICE) Campaign


 Online version at www.SARNEWS.com 8/25/2005


Emergency Response International Sponsors SARNEWS


DBS Productions is pleased to announce that Emergency Response International, the publishers of Managing Land Search Operations and other search and rescue training books, is the new sponsor of SARNEWS.  This allows continued free issues to all of our subscribers.





NSARC Releases Sweep Width Study for Ground SAR


The National Search and Rescue Committee recently released a study called “Sweep Width Estimation for Ground Search and Rescue.” This landmark study provides ground search and rescue (SAR) providers and planners a scientifically sound yet practical method for objectively determining the probability of detection (POD) for lost persons and clues.  For both pre-search planning and post-search evaluation, it is essential that the search planner be able to objectively estimate the POD for a given object in a specific segment given a sensor/resource type and level of effort.  The study details a simple method of planning, conducting, recording, and performing an automated analysis of an experiment and its results to determine effective sweep width, which is the cornerstone of objective POD estimation.  The report fully describes detection experiments using personnel on the ground searching visually for typical SAR search objects. 


These experiments were conducted at five different sites in the continental U.S. representing different eco-regions or seasons of the year.  Searchers with varying levels of experience participated in the experiment with the average number of years in SAR equal to 9 and the average number of searches nearly 50.  Sweep width values ranged from 142 meters for a high-visibility adult in winter-time deciduous forest of Virginia to 17 meters for a low-visibility adult in the dense marine forest of western Washington State. In addition, a loose relationship between Average Maximum Detection Range and sweep width was identified that requires further experimentation to determine whether sweep width can be inferred from a few abbreviated detection range experiments performed at the scene of an actual search. 


Several factors were found that increase or decrease a searcher’s ability to detect the search object.  In addition to describing the experiment, the report has extensive appendices that describe the theory and application of effective sweep width.  The study should be considered a must read for both search managers and for field personnel who actually carry out visual search.  The results of the study have been discussed recently on SAR-list. It is important for everyone to understand the actual results.  The study is 245 pages long and is available as a free PDF download (6 megs).





NPS Ranger Jeff Christensen Died in Line of Duty Accident


National Park Service Ranger Jeff Christensen, 31, of Fraser, Colorado died on Friday July 29, 2005 when he suffered head injuries as a result of a fall near the south slope of Donner Ridge on Mt. Ypsilon in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The accident, which was not witnessed, is

estimated to have occurred mid-afternoon on July 29 while Christensen was on a backcountry patrol in the Mummy Range area of the park.  An intensive search and rescue operation was initiated by the park early on the morning of July 30 and then continued under the direction of the NPS’s Type II Central Incident Management Team.  Christensen was discovered at approximately 1 P.M. on Saturday August 6, 2005 by a group of hikers.


In a press release from Jeff’s patents, he was quoted as once saying “You know, if I ever die while at work in the mountains, do not cry for me because you know that I died doing what I love. But if I die in a car accident on my way to an office job, cry for me because you will know I was miserable and not doing what I loved.”


The following web site gives all the press releases that were issued throughout the search including several pictures of the search area:





International SAR Database Collection Continues


Work continues on the development of an international SAR database.  Recent additions include two different types of electronic search.  Project Lifesaver contributed 484 cases in which direction finding equipment was used to track subjects outfitted with a bracelet.  The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center allowed the collection of over 100 cases in which radar (NTAP) data was used to direct searches for missing aircraft.  In addition, national and international data continues to be collected.  The promise of data from South Africa will complete representative data from every English-speaking country.  The number of cases collection so far totals 31,695.  The collection phase will end soon and efforts will switch to data analysis.  In the first step of analysis we will look at urban cases which account for 600 of the cases.


However, we will still require additional data from specific parts of the world and the U.S.  A template for submitting data can be found at:





Earthquake Prediction Tool


“PARTLY CLOUDY, CHANCE OF AN EARTHQUAKE”:   In what some are describing as the first step in providing the public with more refined earthquake probabilities, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) unveiled a new section of its website which provides information on the chances of a tremor occurring over the next 24 hours in any area of California. The forecast maps, updated hourly, will be most useful after a trembler, according to seismologists at the USGS.  And they are quick to point out that the chances of the new technology forecasting when a significant earthquake will strike are slim.  The forecast maps are created by taking into account a variety of factors including seismic monitoring of the San Andreas Fault as well as other active faults in California.  The maps can be viewed at:





Online Emergency Photo Library


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated its online photo library, a collection of more than 9,200 images of natural disasters and terrorist events, including response and recovery activities, taken by FEMA's disaster photographers. The majority of photographs in the collection are in the public domain and may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed for educational and informational purposes without further permission from FEMA.





Mother's Wrongful Death SAR Claim Rejected


A patient walks away from a state mental hospital.  The hospital contacts the local police.  The police dispatcher tells  the hospital that the police have no legal basis to stop and detain him because he is a voluntary patient.  The patient walks off into the snowy countryside while a lone patrol officer is given the job of keeping an eye out for him.  The patient is found several weeks later in a field 6 miles from the hospital; the cause of death is hypothermia.  A five member appeals court ruled the county was not responsible for protecting the subject from harm and dismissed the wrongful death suit.





Model Policy and Procedure for Missing and Abducted Children Released


The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has released a

15-page white paper that provides a model for law enforcement for optimal policy and procedures in handling reports of missing or abducted children.  Simply a must read for anyone involved in searches for missing children.





Cases of Children and Care Entrapment


The recent search in New Jersey for three missing children highlighted the need

to thoroughly check all cars that have a chance of holding the subject.

Unfortunately, this has not been the first case of this kind.  The following article from the

Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists several other cases.  It never

hurts to be reminded of the need for a thorough search.





NOAA's August Update Increases Hurricane Season Outlook


A very active Atlantic hurricane season is underway and on August 2 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced an increase in the number of storms predicted in its 2005 Atlantic hurricane season outlook. NOAA expects an additional 11 to 14 tropical storms from August through November, with 7 to 9 becoming hurricanes, including 3 to 5 major hurricanes. In total, this season is likely to yield 18 to 21 tropical storms, with 9 to 11 becoming hurricanes, including 5 to 7 major hurricanes.


An average Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions that favor an active hurricane season are now in place, as was predicted in the pre-season outlook. The 2005 season is likely to become the ninth above normal Atlantic hurricane season in the last 11 years. For the complete August update to the hurricane season outlook, visit the NOAA National Weather Service Web site.





Preliminary List of Federal Preparedness Grant Programs Available


The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center is making available a preliminary list of federal preparedness grant programs on its Web site. The information was provided by federal departments and agencies and includes federal preparedness funding programs with state and local entities, such as cooperative agreements and memoranda of understanding, as well as grants and contracts. The NIMS Integration Center is making this preliminary list available to help state and local entities identify funding streams that may be affected in connection with NIMS implementation requirements.






Initial Research Findings from Sumatra Tsunami


This new U.S. Geological Survey Web site titled, "The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: Initial Findings from Sumatra," contains information gathered during an international survey conducted from January 20-29, 2005, as well as over 500 photographs.





In Case of Emergency (ICE) Campaign


The ICE (in case of emergency) campaign, which gained widespread coverage in the wake of the London bombings in July 2005, encourages cell phone users to type the acronym ICE followed by an emergency contact name and phone number into the address book of their phones. This information can aid emergency responders in quickly notifying an individual's ICE contact should the need arise. The background and details of ICE can be found at this Web site:




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