Qualified Search Technician – a few thoughts
ALSAR is currently looking at what should be included in their SAR Tech course.
I have no idea what their thought process is, or where they will go but I thought I would start the re-launch of the Re-Search website with my thoughts on ALSAR initial training and beyond.
My first thought is that ALSAR needs to go back to doing a BASIC Search Course, alongside everything else that is to be required before a searcher becomes operational. This would be the initial training, but not the end. Many teams have “leading search technicians” and whilst I hate the idea of giving someone a position just because they have been in a while there is some merit to be had from having a “qualified search technician” position – similar I suppose to the old Fire Service system where you had a couple of years on the job in order to fully qualify.
So, before you become operational you should have to do x number of hours training. This should include a Basic Search Course – a full weekend course on search! The core of ALSAR’s role is search and I know of several ALSAR courses that struggle toÂ find enough time on a weekend course forÂ training on search, let alone training on radios and comms, navigation, dogs and helicopters! (If your team is adding all these things to basic search training, it is not giving you half the training in search that other teams are providing. Search is a massive subject that could easily fill a week course; do not be deceived!)
So a 16 hour course on search. I’m all for an approved ALSAR basic search course that everyone does – provided that everyoneÂ running itÂ does the same instructor training course. (This should include a PTTLS certificate for those without such a qualification and should include detail of search theory – why the techniques we use are used and so on.) The RYA has a system of asst instructors (who help out on training courses), instructors (who can teach on courses) and senior instructors (who are needed to ensure courses are run properly). This seems to work and ensures all courses run to the same standard. (I’m not saying it is a brilliant system but just one of the ones that works!) ALSAR could have a system for bringing on instructors – but always overseen by senior instructors who are competent in both teaching and knowledge of search!
New members could then do additional training in very basic first aid, navigation, radios and comms, and whatever else ALSAR sees fit for its newest operational members to have. This could be done in a similar way, or be done in-house with other suitably qualified instructors – why should ALSAR come up with instructor standards for first aid and navigation when these exist already?
This should not be the end of the training, however. New searchers should be working towards becoming a qualified search tech. This would more than likely take 18-24 months. It would involve at least 60(?) hours of operational searching, plus additional training courses in first aid and navigation. I would also expect a course on tracking to be part of their cpd, as well as a course on misper behaviour.
In this way we get away from thinking that once you have done a “search tech” course you know everything; you are merely starting a learning journey with lots more to learn…
It would also greatly improve the standard of ALSAR training courses, and ALSAR searchers.
And from my very selfish point of view, it would greatly improve theÂ initial knowledgeÂ of new Team Leaders coming on my courses; meaning I could spend more time on leadership, deciding appropriate search tactics and how to apply misper behaviour knowledge to the search effort than revising basic search knowledge and skills!
But my views are my views; feel free to add your own!
March 15, 2011
Â· Robert Bradley Â· One Comment
Tags: ALSAR, Basic Search Technician, Basic Search Techniques Course, missing person behaviour, Qualified Search Technician, Search Team Leader, Team Leader Course Â· Posted in: Search Thoughts, Search Training