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Essential Competencies

ENTRY LEVEL - Support/Trainee Member

Description: Performs closely supervised tasks in support of SAR incidents generally related to logistical support. May be involved in roles on SAR incidents which require little or no technical knowledge (i.e. litter bearer, radio relay, ground support, or runner).

1. Ground support procedures.
2. Logistic functions and procedures.
3. Basic safety practices.
4. Communications.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of basic ICS organization (I-100) and SAR operations.

Ability to follow instructions and communicate effectively.

Knowledge of ICS and SAR operations.

Knowledge of safe working practices.

Knowledge of common SAR equipment.

Ability to meet NPS-51 Health And Fitness Guidelines.


Description: Performs the specialized skills involved with a search or rescue incident. Serves as the field crew during emergency SAR operations. Depending upon the nature of the area may be involved in one or more of the following specialized areas;

- Search Team Member/Leader
- Aerial Reconnaissance/Search
- Technical Rock Rescue
- Heli-Rappel/Short Haul Rescue
- Swiftwater Rescue
- Ocean/Surf Rescue
- Underwater Search and Recovery
- Alpine Rescue
- Cave/Mine Rescue
- Urban Search & Rescue (USAR)
1. Safe working practices.
2. Air support practices and procedures.
3. Radio communications.
4. Personal preparedness.
5. Application of appropriate EMS techniques (certified as EMT-A).

** Following suitable experience serves as SAR field Team Leader.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of Incident Command System (ICS) principles (I-200).

Knowledge of various SAR resources and their response capabilities.

Skill in technical SAR disciplines appropriate to response area.

Ability to conduct safe technical SAR operations in adverse conditions.

Ability to makes decisions under stressful conditions.

Ability to perform arduous duties in adverse environmental conditions.

SUPERVISOR LEVEL - Incident Manager/Operations Chief

Description: Serves as supervisor of field personnel directly involved with SAR operations. Coordinates initial response with available resources and expands organizational structure to meet the needs of the incident. Ensures safety of field personnel and operations are conducted using accepted techniques.

1. Demonstrate sound leadership and judgement during emergency operations.
2. Application of appropriate SAR resources based upon urgency of the incident.
3. Efficient emergency management.
4. Identify environmental hazards for subordinate personnel and provides a safety equipment.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of advanced ICS principles (I-400).

Knowledge of SAR strategies and tactics.

Knowledge of outside resources and their capabilities.

Ability to conduct incident briefings and debriefings for SAR resources.

Skill at organizing available manpower and planning effectively.

Ability to manage incidents involving outside jurisdictional concerns.

Knowledge of CISD program.

AREA SAR COORDINATOR (Collateral Duty or Specialist)

Description: Serves as area subject matter specialist on SAR. Provides program development and establishes operating procedures. Serves as liaison to outside agencies and resources regarding SAR. Develops area SAR plan and coordinates area training.

1. Implement preventative SAR program.
2. Organize and develop area SAR program.
3. Evaluate SAR incident responses and develop program improvements.
4. Plan, coordinate, and conduct SAR training.
5. Evaluate, maintain, and improve emergency SAR equipment.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of National SAR Plan, proposed NPS-56 SAR guidelines, NPS-57 Health and Fitness Guidelines, and proposed ASTM SAR standards.

Ability to develop pre-plan activities for SAR incidents.

Ability to work with outside agencies.

Skill at coordinating training opportunities.

Knowledge of accepted SAR equipment features and specifications.

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies

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