Type of Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinators as per IAMSAR

SAR coordination The

SAR system has three general levels of coordination:

  1. On scene coordinators (OSCs)

  2. SAR mission coordinators (SMCs) (Rescue coordination centre)

  3. SAR mission coordinators (SMCs) duties

  4. SAR coordinators (SCs) (National level).

  5. SAR coordinators (SCs) overall responsibility

On-scene coordinator-

When two or more SAR facilities are working together on the same mission, one person on the scene may be needed to coordinate the activities of all participating facilities.

  • the SMC designates an OSC, who may be the person in charge of a:

  1. search and rescue unit (SRU), ship, or aircraft participating in a search, or

  2. a nearby facility in a position to handle OSC duties

  • the person in charge of the first facility to arrive at the scene will normally assume the OSC function until the SMC arranges for that person to be relieved.


SAR mission coordinator

  • Each SAR operation is carried out under the guidance of an SMC. This function exists only for the duration of a specific SAR incident and is normally performed by the RCC chief or a designee. The SMC may have assisting staff.

  • The SMC guides a SAR operation until a rescue has been effected or it becomes apparent that further efforts would be of no avail.

  • The SMC should be well trained in all SAR processes, be thoroughly familiar with the applicable SAR plans, and:

  1. gather information about distress situations

  2. develop accurate and workable SAR action plans

  3. dispatch and coordinate the resources to carry out SAR missions.

SMC duties include:

  1. obtain and evaluate all data on the emergency

  2. ascertain the type of emergency equipment carried by the missing or distressed craft

  3. remain informed of prevailing environmental conditions

  4. if necessary, ascertain movements and locations of vessels and alert shipping in likely search areas for rescue, lookout, and/or radio watch

  5. plot the areas to search and decide on methods and facilities to be used

  6. develop the search action plan and rescue action plan as appropriate

  7. coordinate the operation with adjacent RCCs when appropriate

  8. arrange briefing and debriefing of SAR personnel

  9. evaluate all reports and modify action plans as necessary

  10. arrange for refueling of aircraft and, for prolonged search, make arrangements for the accommodation of SAR personnel

  11. arrange for delivery of supplies to sustain survivors

  12. maintain in chronological order an accurate and up-to-date record

  13. issue progress reports

  14. determine when to suspend or terminate the search

  15. release SAR facilities when assistance is no longer required

  16. notify accident investigation authorities

  17. if applicable, notify the State of registry of the aircraft

  18. prepare a final report.

SAR coordinator-

  • SCs are the top-level SAR managers; each State normally will have one or more persons or agencies for whom this designation may be appropriate.

SCs have the overall responsibility for:

  1. establishing, staffing, equipping, and managing the SAR system

  2. establishing RCCs and rescue sub-centers (RSCs)

  3. providing or arranging for SAR facilities

  4. coordinating SAR training

  5. developing SAR p