The SAR Tracking Fundamentals (TRACKING) course will add to a field searcher’s clue and track awareness leading towards the student being classified as a tracking resource. It provides information regarding the general responsibilities, skills, abilities, and the equipment needed by persons who wish to be assigned as a Tracker to field operations during a SAR mission.
The TRACKING course provides the student with practical knowledge and exercises to further their use of man-tracking skills within their unit. The course content includes focus on a cycle of four skills sets [detection, interpretation, recording and trailing], which are needed from a SAR Tracker to support a search and rescue incident. In addition to the separate field exercises to practice these skill sets, students are expected to have the proper equipment to perform on a search operation in the environment of the course location during daylight and nighttime operations based around the rural and wilderness environments but the material is germane to any SAR environment.
TRACKING provides a common point in training for the experienced person in SAR field operations allowing them to accumulate a common nomenclature and equipment needed for SAR tracking assignment in their responding jurisdictions. The course also provides practical experience with simulated field operations and in many cases is an excellent refresher course for the more experienced SAR Tracker. This common point provides continuity during SAR operations and future training of all SAR tracking resources.
TRACKING is the NASAR course designed to prepare the student to challenge a future NASAR SAR Tracking skills evaluation credential. The SAR Tracking certification will be built according the knowledge objectives defined in the NASAR certification criteria for SAR Tracking levels [To Be Determined]. At this point in time the written test is the only plateau in place and this test will be used during the TRACKING course to determine course completion. 70% is the minimum passing grade on this written test.
The 3 Tracking Books currently carried by the NASAR Bookstore are all good base knowledge resources. A selection of one  of these books, combined with the course lesson material will prepare one to pass the TRACKING written exam and this will be a first step toward a future SAR Tracking certification.
The recommended number of hours for the TRACKING course is (20) twenty. The course is usually conducted over a long weekend starting early on Saturday but can be taught over (3) three days starting on Friday night.
Upon successful completion of the TRACKING course, the student should be able to:
· Understand the relationship between inconclusive, conclusive, collaborative sign
· Explain why Trackers can confidently exclaim that there is sign left behind by every footfall
· Define the role of the Tracker within a SAR operation
· Understand the responsibilities for the SAR Tracker
· Describe the expectations of the Incident Commander upon the SAR Tracker
· List the four skill sets needed by the SAR Tracker
· List tracking assignments that one would expect at a ground search incident
· Describe the key elements of the tracking stick and demonstrate the ability to use it
· Describe advantages and disadvantages of different tracking tools
· Demonstrate the use of ones personal SAR tracking equipment
· Describe and demonstrate the controllable aspects of improving your visual cues
· Understand how to set up an aging pit to increase aging of track knowledge
· List the advantages to participation in “dirt time” and how it reflects on your tracking skill level
· Describe the tracking capabilities and a Trackers function at night
· Understand the need to sketch track and how this activity assists in our brain’s capacity to remember and perceive our subjects print pattern
· List the information needed by the Tracker once a print is found and how to prepare this information for radio communication
· Understand the importance of owning and maintaining a tracking log
· Describe the primary types of tracking tactics
· List and demonstrate at least four tracking or tactical skills needed by SAR Trackers
· Demonstrate the practice of Step-By-Step trailing
· Describe unique tracking techniques used for his/her environment
· Describe the techniques and methods used for tracking tactics
· Demonstrate the practice of effective signcutting
· Describe the basic legal philosophy concerning searcher knowledge, training, physical abilities, equipment, discipline, and control; as it would apply to a SAR Tracker