Most local jurisdictions do not have enough incidents to provide sufficient experience for well trained and equipped internal ground search and rescue units. Working with PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), PSARC has developed a two-tier coordination support system.
This system assists local-level responsible agencies when they need assistance in a ground search and rescue operation.
In this arrangement, the goal is to provide local government agencies "one-stop shopping" for the resources to do the job efficiently and effectively.
In Pennsylvania all volunteer or professional search and rescue units have affiliations with state emergency management agencies.
Representatives from PSARC meet on a regular basis with PEMA officials to discuss issues of mutual interest. This natural relationship exists in part because of the language of Annex V of the Emergency Operations Plan for Pennsylvania.
The role of PSARC establish a network of professional / volunteer organizations and public agencies to work together to address common emergency services needs.
PEMA is supportive of the development of PSARC training standards, and PEMA has played a leadership role in facilitating the developing of the EPLO program and the Mission Resource Coordinator role in Pennsylvania.
Most PSARC units provide comprehensive lost person search and rescue services.
Services and capabilities may vary by team:
Several PSARC units carry the prestigious national Mountain Rescue Association certification.
The major purpose of the coordinated efforts of PSARC teams is to provide a comprehensive approach to lost person search and rescue efforts in the field.
When PSARC teams provide mutual-aid services, or when more than one PSARC team is at a search mission, teams work TOGETHER in an Incident Command System unified command structure.
PSARC teams have personnel with significant experience in Incident Command System operations. That experience is available to assist responsible officials from local and county governments.
PSARC has adopted standards for ground SAR personnel working in search and rescue operations.
The standards are based on minimum qualifications an individual should possess before deployment.
All standards are periodically reviewed. PSARC works closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR); DCNR offers statewide testing and certification to the PSARC Field Team Member standards.