Consolidated Pack Guide 30 Day Public Comment Period

Whenever I stand among a group of SAR responders, I am reminded that although I may have many years of experience, if you add up the experience of everyone in the group, it is always chronologically greater than mine (not just in dog years either), and much more diverse than I could ever hope to achieve.  With this in mind, we are going to try a pretty grand experiment, and if it works, it will become more routine for our materials.

One of the struggles with developing nationwide and international standards is that there are differences in environment, agency requirements, and other factors that make it difficult to build something that works great for everyone.  Inevitably, whatever we publish works wonderfully for many responders, and doesn’t work at all for others.  This is our first attempt at using a public comment process, or crowdsourcing to take advantage of everyone’s experience and knowledge to make one of our products better.  The best part is that this is one of our products that pretty much everyone I speak to dislikes in one way, shape or form… The Pack List!

Historically, the pack list has been a required part of our SARTECH Certification Testing.  The pack test will no longer officially be a part of that testing process (beginning today, no one should fail a pack check as part of their testing).  We will be republishing the SARTECH testing documents in June without the pack test.  However, students will still be expected to carry the minimum safety equipment and water/hydration as well as anything required by the test they are participating in (e.g. a compass, writing instrument and notebook for the navigation test).  We will be providing evaluators more direction on this in June.

 Moving forward, we will be publishing a new Consolidated Pack Guide, which will have ground searcher and other specific resource equipment listed in one place.  The first version you are seeing today addresses the first step – the ground searcher equipment.  The next version is scheduled to address the canine, mounted and tracking requirements.

 The Consolidated Pack Guide is meant to be a complimentary educational document when teaching the SARTECH series of courses, or when testing.  The old checklist didn’t teach anyone anything.  It just made sure you had a list of things in your pack.  The new guide is a learning moment to help searchers consider what they are carrying, why they are carrying it and what they can do with it.

 So, today we are asking for your assistance and providing you an opportunity to make this the best guide we can.  We want your opinion on everything from the contents of the list to the font we use.  Not every comment that everyone sends in will be incorporated into the guide, but each of them will be seriously considered in relation to our goal.  You get 30 days from today to provide your comments.  Our intent is to publish the completed first version in June.  Also, let us know if you like the idea of public comment, or have a better suggestion about how to make our products better.


  • Remember, this is the basic ground searcher pack contents we are considering.
  • Your audience is the search community internationally, but primarily here in North America and the Caribbean.
  • Some areas and items are currently blank since we are still working on the content, and you should still comment on them.
  1. Please review the posted draft Consolidated Pack Guide (DOWNLOAD HERE)
  2. Think about it.
  3. Post edits, additions, deletions, changes, and comments to prior to 29 May 2015

Thanks for your attention and your commitment to SAR.

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