When can I go on a search?
When you have completed the FTM workshop (or have received sufficient information from a member of BRMRG) and have your field pack checked off, you will be Call-out-Qualified and placed on the roster to be called for the next search.
I’m not sure about how much time I will have, do I have to go on the search?
No. You are in no way obligated to respond to any mission. School, work, and family often come before searches! This is volunteer, and sometimes, other priorities come first. However, the group appreciates your dedication to helping in those emergencies.
What do I do at a search?
When you first arrive, you will sign the SAR registration to let base know you are there and ready to go in the field. (Do NOT walk into base! They are busy dealing with law enforcement, family, and assigning tasks) Find a field team to join (or someone will ask you to join one) and your Field Team Leader will get a task from base. You will then go with your team into a designated area to search as directed by your FTL and return to base. A task averages about 4 hours. Other tasks you might be doing as an CQ include: running the base radio, helping to set up radio equipment, making copies of maps for the field.
What about summers and holidays?
BRMRG operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 leap years)… if that isn’t hard core, what is? You will be asked to fill out availability for these times.
How do I get to the searches? What if I don’t have a car?
BRMRG operates throughout Virginia and portions of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina… no wonder you are worried about getting there! We travel in caravans to the search and keep careful tabs on you in dispatch (it stays manned until everyone is physically back to Charlottesville). Members may use their own cars, but many will leave theirs behind to split the driving in another vehicle. You are reimbursed for gas mileage. There is no probelm if you do not have your own transportation, dispatch can arrange a ride for you.
When are trainings? What do they involve?
Classroom trainings are on Wednesday nights from 7-8. Field trainings are Saturdays starting at 9am and typically last until 3 or 4pm. Bring your field pack for all Saturday trainings… we will be teaching wilderness survival, land navigation, technical rope skills, search techniques, simulations, working with dogs, among other topics. You will also be certified in wilderness medicine first aid and CPR. Although BRMRG does not teach an EMT cirriculum, many of our members go to a local rescue squad for this training and take a new Wilderness EMT supplement. See the training schedule on the web.
What happens if I miss a training?
If you miss a training, it is your responsibility to learn missed information from a member of BRMRG. They will be glad to help you out! We all have rough schedules and understand missing trainings. If in fact, you will not be able to attend trainings this semester but want to remain active in the group– please do!
What comes after Call-Out-Qualified?
Field Team Member (FTM) is the next level of testing. After about one semester of training, you can take the following tests to move up a level in qualification: FTM knots, FTM land navigation, FTM written test, Semi-technical rescue BRMRG offers many leadership positions and training for advancement. You can progress through the ranks of SAR by becoming a Field Team Leader (FTL), Field Team Signcutter (FTS), Incident Staff (IS), and perhaps Incident Commander (IC). Officers positions include: Medical, Operations, Communications, Equipment, Public Information, Finance, and Training.
How much is it going to cost?
Nothing, nada, zilch. BRMRG has no membership fees. You will need to assemble your field pack essentials, but this should be a fairly minimal cost for the training and experiences you will receive.