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Welcome to the GSAR Response Assessment and Decision Making Support (RADeMS) website.

Volunteer ground and inland water search and rescue in British Columbia has evolved immensely since the 1960/70s, with the shift away from Civil Emergency response to finding lost persons, and rescuing those injured or stranded. Many of the GSAR groups in BC were formed following a high-profile incident in their respective communities, or through volunteers recognizing the need for better organized search capability and/or specialized rescue techniques, equipment and training.

Risk Management/Mitigation

Everything we do has an element of risk; driving to work, taking a flight, crossing the road etc. However, most if not all everyday risks have been mitigated to some extent to make them manageable. Often the need to mitigate risk is initiated by an event that caused injury or even death. Many formal SAR reviews have had a positive impact on SAR volunteer safety in helping to improve training and establish policy and or protocols where required.

There are many factors that ultimately affect the degree of risk management/mitigation required. Some are obvious; some are not. This tool attempts to identify an extensive list of factors in an effort to ensure that they are considered when making decisions that could result in serious injury or even death. This should not be interpreted as a 'Go/No-Go' gauge, but rather as an objective method to identify hazards and reduce risk.

Approach to RESPONSE ASSESSMENT AND DECISION MAKING SUPPORT

The card and reference guide are designed to be used by SAR Managers in the context of the overall response, and by Team Leaders specific to their team assignment. All SAR volunteers should be aware of these tools as part of the safety program.

The approach taken in developing this tool was to evaluate 2 sets of criteria in a dual-axis heat-map card format. The simple 'green is safe', 'yellow is caution' and 'red is danger' convention is easily recognized and understood. Once that format was established, a series of questions was required along with a scoring system.

We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada for this project through the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF).