What is Preventative Search and Rescue ?
Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a PSAR Ranger here at Grand Canyon National Park. You’ve probably heard of Search and Rescue before, but my job is Preventive Search and Rescue. Basically my job is to help visitors avoid needing to be rescued by providing education about the hazards of hiking in the Grand Canyon, and the time and equipment necessary to complete a planned hike.
The PSAR program was started in 1997 as an effort to reduce the hundreds of heat-related illnesses park visitors were experiencing every summer. Some of those illnesses resulted in deaths that could have been avoided with better preparation and planning. PSAR Rangers patrol the upper portions of the main corridor trails, such as the Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails, and ask hikers questions about their hiking plans.
Where are you hiking today?
Do you know how far that is and how long it will take you to complete the hike?
Do you have enough water and food with you?
Are you drinking your water?
Do you have a flashlight and a jacket?
Do you know what temperatures to expect?
Although information about the trails is available at the Visitor Center and on signs posted at the trailheads, many hikers are still surprised when a PSAR Ranger talks to them about their planned hike. If you meet a PSAR Ranger on your hike remember our goal is not to discourage you but to help you have a safe and positive experience at the Grand Canyon.
PSAR Rangers are also EMT’s and are often the first park personnel on scene with an ill or injured hiker. PSAR Rangers carry basic medical gear and can call for additional personnel if advanced medical or technical rescue skills are required.
But no one wants to spend their vacation in a hospital! So grab your earphones and come on a virtual patrol with me down the trail. Over the next few months I’ll be presenting a podcast series that will allow you to experience a day in the life of a PSAR Ranger. We’ll meet up with some other hikers and learn about what to expect on the trail, the 10 essentials you should always bring with you, even on a short hike, how to rescue yourself, some tips for hiking with children and most of all how to HIKE SMART! So, Dust off your boots and keep an ear out for these upcoming podcasts on the Grand Canyon website and on iTunes. See you soon!
Return to the Hike Smart Podcast Directory
How to get a Backcountry Permit
Critical Backcountry Updates Trail Conditions and Closures
Last updated: May 12, 2021