April 19, 2018

FSAR at Everest Base Camp!

Three FSAR members (on 2 seperate trips) trekked to Everest Base Camp this month!  Melissa, Jim met up with Cecily on the trail!

April 11, 2018

FSAR Monthly Meeting & Training Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:30 p.m.

FSAR Monthly Meeting & Training
Wednesday, April 11, 2018  6:30 p.m.
Kingfield Fire Station

I am responding help & tutorial. John will be at KFD beginning at 5:30 to assist any member who needs assistance installing the ‘I am Responding’ software on your phone. The regular meeting begins at 6:30.

Training: Search Basics, ‘What you need to know to be successful on a MASAR search’  By Pat & Barry with input from all experienced FSAR Team members.

Gear to share: “What steps do you take to avoid overexposure to the sun in the backcountry?”  Bring samples of your favorite: clothing, headgear, glasses and lotions.

New FSAR membership structure & what it means for you.

As we were snowed out in March, all members are encouraged to attend this meeting.

See you soon!

March 13, 2018

March 14, FSAR Monthly Meeting has been Postponed

The FSAR Board has decided to postpone the Wed. March 14 training due to weather.

Our next meeting/training will be on April 11 when the snow is gone and flowers will be blooming!?

Enjoy the snow!

January 25, 2018

FSAR/MDISAR at Baxter in Winter!

This past weekend a winter mountaineering training was held at  Baxter State Park (BSP). Hosted by BSP and organized by Cecily S., 3  FSAR members spent 3 days training and trekking in Baxter State Park at Chimney Pond . Pete G from MDISAR also joined us.

 On Saturday morning Cecily, Shannon, Pete, and Pat met Baxter State Park rangers, Mike and Greg at the BSP Abol parking area.  Two park snow machines transported us on the SAR transport sled as well as, our gear all the way to Roaring Brook campground.  At that point the rangers went ahead with our gear and the four of us snowshoed the 3.4 miles to Chimney Pond. On our arrival we were welcomed at the crew cabin with a nice warm fire and gear stowed inside. We settled in and spent the afternoon exploring around Chimney Pond, reviewed avalanche conditions, performed beacon and probe training, and familiarized ourselves with the  BSP SAR gear and the equipment cache in the ranger cabin.

A highlight of the afternoon was navigating 40+ mph winds on Chimney Pond while getting drinking water.
Sunday was summit day. In the morning we assessed the wind and snow conditions and decided the best route for a summit attempt would be to go up the Saddle slide. We were met with rock, ice and wind on the tablelands but managed to reach Baxter Peak in good time. Enjoying the summit of Mt. Katahdin in the winter is something many people never experience. Spectacular visibility and ....no crowds in January.

Monday we explored the ice off the Dudley trail.  We headed out before lunch. Mike and Greg had arranged for all our gear to be hauled back in the park sled.  The 4 of us strapped on our skis and had a great run back to Roaring Brook where we hopped on the transport sled and were hauled back to our vehicles at Abol.

Many thanks to Baxter State Park and to Cecily for arranging the winter training.  Baxter State Park really extends first class treatment to Maine wilderness SAR teams . Hopefully we can reciprocate and will be called on for assistance when help is needed.

(Thanks to Pat for this write-up and photo.)

November 22, 2017

West Bath Search Suspended by MWS

MDIFW NEWS: West Bath Search Suspended

The land search for 70-year-old Edward Berrett from West Bath has been suspended. The Maine Warden Service placed considerable search resources in all probable areas over the last three days. The search included an area stretching two miles from the point Berrett was last seen and encompassed a total area of five square miles. Additional water areas will likely be searched in the future depending upon weather conditions.

The accompanying map highlights those areas covered on foot by searchers and K9 teams. Maine Warden Service aircraft, Marine Patrol watercraft and drones operated by York County EMA covered additional areas of shoreline totaling more than three miles. Moving forward, game wardens, Marine Patrol Officers and local law enforcement will continue to surveille the area during routine patrol. If additional clues or investigative information becomes available, focused search efforts may resume.

Fifty searchers began again today at daybreak in their search for Edward Barrett. Search resources included a Maine Warden Service aircraft, game wardens and K9 teams, Marine Patrol Officers with watercraft, Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, Maine Search and Rescue Dog (MESARD) teams, members of the Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR), a drone aircraft from York County EMA and members of West Bath Fire Department.

Maine game wardens and Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office continue to seek information from the public for information that might help locate Berrett. He was last seen on Beaver Brook Road in West Bath on Friday November 17, at 7:00 PM. Special attention is being asked of anyone who travelled in the vicinity of Hill Road in West Bath between Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 who may have witnessed anything that could help this search.

Edward Barrett is 6’1” tall, weighs 220 pounds, has blue eyes and blonde/white hair. He was last known to be wearing khaki colored pants. It is possible that Berrett was not wearing a shirt or jacket according to one report. If anyone has information that may help locate Berrett, please call the Gray Regional Communication Center at (207) 657-3030 or Sagadahoc County Police dispatch at (207) 443-9711.


FSAR had 4 members participate in the 2 day search:

Thank you to all who participated and those who were working to rearrange their schedules in case the search went into a 3rd day.


October 6, 2017

Wilderness First Aid + WFR Recert. Class with Paul from WMA

FSAR hosted a great workshop with Paul learning wilderness medical techniques.

Topics covered: Patient Assessment System; CPR; Circulatory System; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Fractures, Stable Injuries; Splints 1-Extremities; Hypothermia; Hyperthermia and Heat Illness; Near Drowning; Lightning Injuries; Wounds and Burns; Anaphylaxis; Lifting, Moving Extrication; Patient Carries; Backcountry Medicine

September 27, 2017

FSAR Welcomes New Members!

Newest FSAR members!  Bernie (left) and Evy from Stratton, welcome to the team ladies!

September 12, 2017

FSAR Evening Rope Rescue Training in the New Vineyard Mountains.

We had a good hands-on RR Team training yesterday evening in New Vineyard.  6 members participated in a steep angle lower/raise evolution using vehicles as anchors.  The evolution included a knot pass scenario and many good rigging discussions.  This was our final training before the 4-day Rigging for Rescue class on MDI next month.  Special thanks to team leader Melissa for her great organizational efforts and leadership over the past 12 months.  What a wonderful group of volunteers!  

FSAR at Baxter July 4 Weekend 2017

August 18, 2017

Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder Recertification Class Offered in Kingfield!

Wilderness First Aid (WFA)
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Recertification Course

Taught by: Wilderness Medical Associates International
Hosted by: Franklin Search & Rescue

WFA: Sept 23 & 24, 2017 (2-day class) $175
WFR Recertification class is 4 days long (2 weekends): Sept 23 & 24 AND Sept 30 & Oct. 1, $275

Location: Kingfield Fire Department, Kingfield, Maine

Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

Cost: WFA $175,  WFR Recertification $ 275

The best and most comprehensive course of its kind, WFA offers relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities or short term wilderness endeavors and pursuits.  Wilderness First Aid is a two-day introduction to general medical concepts and basic life support skills. It is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast on day trips or short adventures. The course is taught by a professional instructor with significant backcountry care experience.

Instructor by: Paul Marcolini, Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMA)  http://www.wildmed.com/

Sponsored by: Franklin Search & Rescue (FSAR) http://franklinsar.blogspot.com/

Course topics:
Patient Assessment System; CPR; Circulatory System; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Fractures, Stable Injuries; Splints 1-Extremities; Hypothermia; Hyperthermia and Heat Illness; Near Drowning; Lightning Injuries; Wounds and Burns; Anaphylaxis; Lifting, Moving Extrication; Patient Carries; Backcountry Medicine Responder (WFR) Recertification Class


The WFA course is scheduled for two days or 16 hours of instructional and practice time. Upon successful completion, students will receive certification in Wilderness First Aid and Adult CPR.

The WFR recertification course is 4 days long. Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) offers a variety of options for WMA and non-WMA graduates to earn a WMA WFR certification via recertification.  To be eligible, a candidate must have successfully passed an eligible course.  To be eligible, the course should have been a wilderness-based first aid training course that was at least 64 hours long and completed within 3 years of the proposed recertification option.  Most, but not all, WFRs are eligible.

Upon completion, the successful candidate will receive Wilderness Medical Associates’ Anaphylaxis, and BLS/Healthcare Provider-level CPR certifications as well as the appropriate certification – WFR or WEMT, for those eligible.

Students will receive the following books on this course:

  • Wilderness First Aid Guide
  • SOAP Notebook;
  • The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook


Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments and written quizzes, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills, and a successful grade on a final written exam.


Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in this course. Those under 18 years of age require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

To register:

Please follow this link to register for the WMA class this fall:


Please send me a check made out to FSAR for $175 for wilderness first aid class, (WFA) or $275 for the wilderness first responder recert class (WFR).  If you would prefer to put down a deposit for the class now and pay the balance when the class begins please contact me to work out the details. The class must be paid in full BEFORE the class begins.

If you are an FSAR team member, please pay me at the September 13 FSAR meeting.

Thank you!

Steve Mitman
FSAR Secretary
27 Ivy Rd.
Strong, Maine

Question?  Contact FSAR Secretary Steve Mitman
mitman13@gmail.com  (207) 491-2713

May 12, 2017

FSAR SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)

Adopted 2-23-2015
(Last updated: April 30, 2017)


  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Jurisdiction
  4. Initial incident aid request
  5. Dispatch and initial incident Communications
  6. Notifications
  7. Getting to the scene
  8. SAR Operations (Ops)
  9. Sequence of events at the scene
  10. Member expectations
  11. Responder Expectations for Active SAR Team Members
  12. Emergency Medical Care
  13. Slopes Rescue/Rope Rescue
  14. Helicopter operations
  15. Water Rescue
  16. Public Relations, Media and Correspondence
  17. Incident Resolution/Documentation
  18. Training
  19. FSAR Team gear
  20. FSAR Job Descriptions
  21. S.O.P. Revision and Updates

1. Purpose

FSAR’s Mission Statement is: To render aid to persons in distress, administer emergency care, perform activities relative to the rescue of persons in distress in a remote wilderness setting and promote wilderness safety and backcountry education to the general public.

2. Scope of Operation

  • Ground Search
  • Technical Rescue
  • Medical Assistance
  • Mutual aid for Maine wilderness SAR ops
  • Baxter State Park

3. Jurisdiction

FSAR operates under the umbrella of the agencies listed below:
  • Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR)
  • Maine Warden Service (MWS)
  • Franklin County Emergency Management Agency (FCEMA)
  • Baxter State Park (BSP)

Even though FSAR works with these agencies, MWS needs to be notified by the dispatcher or the FSAR officer in charge, when members respond.

4. Initial incident aid request

  • Who can request/activate the team?
    1. Game Warden
    2. MASAR Duty Officer
    3. local agency Fire Command
    4. NorthStar EMS
    5. Baxter State Park

5. Dispatch and initial incident Communications

  • The board will task some members to serve as dispatchers for the team.
  • Dispatch will be conducted primarily by text message and/or contact numbers found on the roster.
  • Upon receiving the initial request for FSAR, available board members will contact each other via text or phone to determine a dispatch and command plan.
  • FSAR will not self-dispatch. All calls should begin at the request of: MWS, MASAR, BSP, Local Fire Departments, NorthStar EMS.
  • Basic information in the text notification to the team (to the extent known) may include: type of incident, location and time of staging, number of subjects involved,  what is being requested, special circumstances, and the contact information for FSAR officer in charge.
  • After a team-wide text is sent, an email with more details will be sent to the active team mailing list.
  • Team members should only reply to the text message if they can respond, or ‘possibly can’ respond.  Texting to say you will not be responding clogs the system.
  • While in route to the scene, individual members may be requested to secure team gear from the FSAR locker at the Kingfield Fire Department.

6. Notifications

  • The FSAR Dispatcher will contact the MASAR Duty Officer, with the number of responding team members and any other relevant information.

  • To aid in county-wide emergency service communications, the Franklin County EMA Director and Franklin County Dispatch Center Director shall be included on the “Active Team’ member text list so they are aware that FSAR is responding to a call.

7. Getting to the scene

  • FSAR team members do NOT fall under any state statutes for exceeding the speed limit when responding to a call. All team members are expected to obey all speed and traffic laws when responding.
  • Especially for incident calls that are a long distance from our home territory, members are encouraged to carpool.

8. Sequence of events at the scene

  • When FSAR members arrive at the scene (Command Post, Trailhead, etc), members shall make contact with other team members and the FSAR officer in charge. Members should then report to the Command Post to sign in.

  • The FSAR officer in charge will obtain information on the mission and communicate this to team members. This briefing may take place as an individual unit or the MWS may conduct a whole group briefing prior to the deployment of individual units.

  • At the briefing, all team members will obtain pertinent subject information from the IC Team Leader. If not given an info sheet, members should take notes and take a photo of the missing person image on a smartphone or other device for practical use in the field. Confidentiality of this information shall be maintained and not shared outside the mission.

  • The briefing shall include environmental information such as: terrain, hazards, and expected weather considerations.

  • All responders are encouraged to ask clarifying questions during the briefing.

  • Typically, after the briefing, there is time prior to deployment for team members to conduct a gear check. Individual should inspect ready packs prior to arrival. Mission-specific gear and last minute procurement of any personal items is essential.

  • Before deployment, team members should gather, share and inspect any personal or team mapping for the deployment area. If a photocopier is available, it should be used.

  • Before deployment, FSAR members and any volunteers assigned to the team by the Warden Service, should discuss personal gear and clothing to assure everyone is prepared for going into the field. Additionally, FSAR members’ personal health requirements, such as medications, must be accounted for.

  • While waiting, team members should consider the short and long term needs of the mission above and beyond the information provided from the Command Post. This includes weather reports, communication tools, nutrition needs, and any additional technical gear needs.

  • Once the team is deployed, members should determine an efficient transportation plan to the search area. Some search missions may take members a long way from the staging area, and transportation back to the ICP/personal vehicle need to be considered.

  • When FSAR members return to the Command Post, members will check in and indicate on the roster (sign-out) that they have returned from the field. Additional assignments may be forthcoming so FSAR members should take care of hydration and nutrition needs and re­supply personal ready packs. Other considerations include health needs, tick check, footwear and charging communication devices.

  • After the search day has been terminated and FSAR members stand down, an assessment of personal and team gear shall be conducted. A thorough examination of the team technical gear should be made by a current member of the Rope Rescue Team. This inspection should include all rope and hardware used during the event before returning it to storage.  Any technical gear needing replacement should be referred to the Chair of the Ropes Team.

  • The last task of the mission when the search or search day is complete is the “FSAR clear of the scene” communication to all pertinent individuals and agencies. This may include: Franklin County Emergency Management Agency (FCEMA), Franklin County Communications Center and a text to FSAR officers and/or the active team membership.

  • An email update regarding the status of ongoing or completed SAR activities will be sent to active team members at the end of each day of team Ops.

9. SAR Operations (Ops)

  • Incident Command System (I.C.S) will be set up by the jurisdiction in charge.

  • The FSAR officer in charge on-scene will be assigned at the time of dispatch but may change as the response evolves. It is the responsibility of the initial officer in charge to continue this role until he/she finds a qualified FSAR replacement at the scene.

  • The FSAR officer-in-charge shall initially work with the incident commander in the command post (CP).

  • At times, the FSAR officer in charge may be asked by the requesting agency in charge to be the I.C.

  • Occasionally FSAR is asked to include members of the public or other SAR teams into our group as part of the SAR scenario. The FSAR officer in charge shall discuss factors such as: medical history, well-being, fitness, experience,  appropriate clothing, footwear, gear, etc.

  • If FSAR members are assigned to other SAR groups at a scene, it is an expectation that all FSAR members will follow FSAR policies, standards and practices.

  • When waiting for a team SAR assignment, FSAR team members are expected to stay in the team staging area until assigned a task. Only the team leader shall go to the command post unless another member is directed to do so.

  • After ensuring each team member has the necessary personal and/or team equipment and appropriate training to safely and effectively complete the search and rescue mission the Team Leader will assign each active team member to a specific duty.

  • All FSAR team members shall wear the officially designated or equivalent reflective blaze-orange vest, jacket, or shirt to aid visibility in the field.

  • For safety, no one travels or acts alone.  If any team member becomes separated, the entire operational objective switches to finding that team member.  No FSAR field team will have less than two members unless otherwise directed by the FSAR team leader (i.e. spotter).

  • If a team member needs to leave the SAR area, another team member shall accompany them back to the staging area.

  • All field teams will have at least one radio and/or cell phone (if operating in an area with cell coverage) with a full battery charge for communication.  

  • Before dividing a large team into smaller separate teams, members will coordinate plans, radio call signs, radio frequency/channels and cell numbers with each other and the Incident Commander. Additional team leaders must be clearly designated for the new teams.

  • SAR field teams shall be prepared to respond to periodic radio or cell phone ‘status and safety checks’ from the Incident Command Post during the SAR mission.

  • Each FSAR field team will be asked to report their GPS/map/trail position to the Incident Command Post, at least hourly, and more frequently when possible.

  • Each team shall maintain a log of all pertinent clues, findings or observations, and shall plot them on a map or make a GPS waypoint. The use of colored flagging-tape may be used to mark clues in the field. All relevant clues shall be reported to the ICP as soon as field communications allow.

  • Evidence/clue preservation techniques shall be utilized in the field at all times. All searches are to be considered a crime scene until proven otherwise.

  • No photographs shall be taken of a deceased victim unless a member is expressly directed to do so by Incident Command. If asked to shoot photos, the photographer shall expect to forfeit their memory card to Incident Command or investigator.

  • No team member shall take or permit any action which could endanger himself or a fellow team member or any other person.

  • Each FSAR member should make a report of unsafe conditions to their direct team leader, if the operation jeopardizes the safety of the team’s members, the victim or the public. At that time, The team Leader in charge will make the decision on whether to continue, change, or suspend operations in view of that potential safety hazard.

  • All team members sustaining ANY type of injury, no matter how minor, shall report it to their Team Leader immediately or as soon as it is possible. This is for the protection of the individual SAR team members.

  • At no time shall an FSAR team member be in charge of, or participate in an operation that is beyond their level of training and or certification.

  • FREELANCING is defined as participating in any activity while representing FSAR without properly notifying and requesting permission from the Incident Commander.  Freelancing is considered risky & dangerous behavior and is not permitted at any SAR call, and may be grounds for termination.

10. Member expectations  

New candidates interested in becoming active team members, must attend a minimum of 3 monthly meetings within a 6 month period. If after 3 monthly meetings the prospective new member would like to apply to join FSAR, the board of directors, within the month, will vote on acceptance. The applicant will be approved, or approved with conditions or not approved for membership.

The new members will be granted ‘active team member status’ once they have:
  • completed the FSAR team member application,
  • complete the FCEMA application,  
  • As a minimum, Hold a current CPR/ Wilderness First Aid card
  • provided contact information to FSAR director for dispatch
  • passed the fitness test (may be waived by the board for special circumstances),
  • have created a personal ready-pack
  • be current with annual dues

Active Team Member (summary):

In order to carry out the FSAR mission of helping those in need in Maine’s backcountry, active team members will need to maintain a standard of personal commitment to remain on the active team member roster.

Active Team members shall:
  • A decorum of professionalism will be maintained at all times by FSAR members participating in the incident.
  • Maintain a level of personal fitness that will facilitate a safe, efficient and effective contribution in the back country.  Many members use their recent day hiking and backpacking history as a gauge of trail worthy-ness.
  • Attend a minimum of 50% of FSAR meetings/trainings annually.
  • Work toward BASAR certification.
  • Keep dues current.
  • At a minimum hold a current CPR/Wilderness First Aid card
  • Keep the board/dispatchers informed if you become unable to respond for medical, family, or work reasons for an extended period of time.
  • Maintain a ready pack, footwear and clothing to keep it updated for the current season.
  • Dispatch is conducted by text and email. Every effort should be made to remain ‘electronically connected’ for this purpose.

11. Active Team Member Expectations

  • (bylaws) Active team members are required to maintain a ready pack appropriate for the
season and include appropriate items from the Recommended Minimum
Equipment list on the MASAR website. (see Appendix A)

  • (bylaws) Active team members are expected to complete a MASAR sanctioned
test annually. Each team member responding should be in physical condition appropriate for the anticipated mission.

  • (SOP) Members with physical or medical limitations (or who are taking medications) which would hinder or adversely affect their ability to safely perform in the field should make the team leader aware of their situation. An effort should be made to find an appropriate job for all responding team members not deployed in the field (checking other trailheads, cruising local roads, interviewing businesses/motels in town, helping at the ICP, etc.)

  • (bylaws) Those under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances will not be allowed to participate in any capacity

  • (bylaws) All FSAR team members are expected to be working toward successful completion of the Basic Search & Rescue (BASAR) certification as detailed on the MASAR website. Many of FSAR monthly trainings are designed to meet parts of the BASAR certification requirements  

  • (bylaws) Members must have, as a minimum, current certification in Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and CPR.

  • (bylaws?) Members should be adequately rested and prepared both physically and mentally for the challenges of the missions.  This includes being adequately hydrated and prepared with plenty of water (or water filtration system) and sources of electrolytes ( Emergen-C, orange juice, bananas, Gatorade, etc.)

  • Firearms: (adopted 4-30-2017) No firearms will be taken into the field (concealed or open) while responding with FSAR.  Firearms should be locked in personal vehicles when responding for FSAR.  Additional rules may apply when responding in State parks, National Parks, Baxter State Park and on the public lands of neighboring states.

  • (SOPs) Members responding to a call or exercise should be properly clothed for anticipated conditions. When possible, clothing & gear should include team identification/logo (hats, shirts, florescent orange vests, and pack covers.)

  • (SOPs) Prior to departure, individuals should familiarize themselves with a current 48
hour weather forecast for the incident location.

  • (?) Topographical maps, a Maine Atlas, Appalachian Trail maps and other local pertinent material should be referenced and brought along if possible.  GPS units, cell phones, tablets, or electronic devices, which may aid in navigation, should be fully charged and brought if appropriate.

  • (SOPs?) Before driving to the scene, members should become familiar with the location of the staging area. Some members use paper maps (Maine Atlas), google maps, google earth, gps, etc. It is not uncommon for the staging area to change as the search/rescue unfolds, be ready for it.

  • (bylaws) Searchers should be prepared to carry with them a ready pack as outlined in the
MASAR minimum equipment list. (See Appendix A) Gear should be appropriate for the weather, and anticipated conditions expected.

  • (bylaws?) Active team members are expected to be self sufficient in the field for 24 hours. The contents of the ready pack should reflect this expectation.

  • (sops) Members should be prepared for a personal gear/equipment inspection to help eliminate unnecessary or redundant items. A proper whistle, fire starting device, headlamp, fluorescent orange vest, map, compass and GPS should be on your person at all times.

  • (bylaws) Portable radios may be issued to members for communication while on a
mission. Proper radio protocol and etiquette must be practiced at all times.

  • (SOPs) After arriving at the command post, note important contact telephone numbers and radio call numbers prior to deployment to relay or receive information while in the field.

  • (SOPs) Individual team members are encouraged to take personal notes during or after the mission is completed in case a review or litigation at a later date is required.

12. Emergency Medical Care

  • Primary role of FSAR is to Locate, Access, Stabilize and Transport the patient(s).

  • Our role as medical providers will vary depending on mission, and additional agencies responding.

  • Our primary medical role will be assessing and treating FSAR members
while on a SAR mission. Our secondary medical role will be assessing
and treating patients until arrival of SAR EMS, and further assisting EMS as necessary.

  • A FSAR first aid kit will accompany all FSAR activities – training and missions.

  • Within 12 months of becoming an active team member, individuals are required to obtain, as a minimum, certification of WFA and CPR .  Under extenuating circumstances, the training officer or board may grant an extension.

  • A SOAP note will be created for each patient by the FSAR primary medical provider.  SOAP note paperwork is contained in the FSAR first aid kit.

  • Patient confidentiality will be maintained at all times

  • The process to improve quality of the delivery of patient care can and should be continuous.  With this goal in mind, FSAR will review 100% of all SOAP notes/patient care reports will be reviewed for patient care, appropriate use of protocols and documentation.

  • FSAR Privacy Policy: Whilst working in conjunction with various public safety agencies including fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical services, FSAR adheres to strict privacy policies for the protection of the citizens whom we assist in rescues or searches.  As such, we adhere to federal guidelines as specified under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which sets forth parameters for patient privacy rights.  Under HIPAA Regulations, a patient has the right to personal privacy and confidential treatment of all communications and records.  The HIPAA Privacy Rule ensures the patient has the right to control the use and release of personal health records as well as having the right to expect healthcare providers will protect the privacy of the patient's protected health information.

13. Slopes Rescue/Rope Rescue

The following SOGs apply to both assisting another SAR Team with a
rope rescue, or when FSAR team members are leading the rope

  • FSAR members will participate only to their level of experience.

  • All personal safety equipment, including helmets, will be
worn at all times within the “hot zone” of a technical rescue.

  • Providers within the “hot zone” rope rescue area will be tied into an

  • All systems will include a belay and braking system

  • All rappels will be belayed or include a self braking system

  • All systems will have a safety check prior to weighting the system

  • When FSAR is leading a technical rescue, a minimum of two FSAR technical rescue members must be on scene to facilitate the rescue.

  • A post event (training or mission) gear check of all FSAR equipment and personnel will occur.

  • The leader of a technical rescue event will fill in the use log for FSAR equipment

14. Helicopter Operations (adopted 6-5-2016)

FSAR members need to have attended an in-house or agency helicopter safety program prior to participation.  In addition, the following equipment is mandatory for helicopter operations: climbing helmet, eye protection, ear protection.

15. Water Safety

While FSAR has members trained as Swift Water Rescue Technicians (SRT) or licensed Maine whitewater guides, we are a trained wilderness search and
rescue team and water rescue is not in our scope of training. We may however
be asked to work around or over water in our operations.  
In such operations Incident Command (IC) will determine the parameters for any
water rescue operations and general guidelines are as follows.

  • All personnel working within 10’ of any moving water shall wear an
approved personal flotation device, and have an accessible throw bag.

  • IC will utilize SRT personal and employ their expertise in determining the
best operational approach to the incident.

  • Only SRT personnel are allowed in dynamic (moving water) unless the
water level is below their knees and does not pose a significant hazard to

16. Public Relations, Social Media and Correspondence
No FSAR team member shall communicate with the news media during or after field operations or distribute any items with the FSAR, MASAR or MWS name or logo without first being approved by the IC and the FSAR Team Leader.
If approached by news media or reporters, be polite and helpful when you refer all questions to the Command Post, or the designated FSAR Team Leader.  Never share search or personal information regarding the nature of the call.
(Updated 9-11-2016): Social media updates by team members from the scene of an active call are not permitted. It may be considered a violation of the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA) if members include any specific personal or detailed operational information about the call on social media, including identifiable photos of the lost or injured people we serve. A HIPPA violation carries a fine for both the team member posting and FSAR. If you do choose to post, your posts should be about you and what you did to help improve the situation. Obtaining permission to post the faces of other team members is always a good idea.  If you photograph “clues” for IF&W, it is suggested you delete these photos after downloading them or emailing them to a Fish and Game computer.

17. Incident Resolution/Documentation  

  • The dispatching officer shall take dispatch notes during the initial callout. The notes will become the core of the email that is shared with the team during the dispatch process.
  • The officer/team member in charge on scene is responsible for filling out the  incident report form.
  • Individual team members are encouraged to take personal notes during or after the mission is completed in case a review or litigation at a later date is required.
  • All FSAR members who work directly with the patient providing medical care will create and save detailed personal notes/soap notes of the incident and their patient care role.
  • Patient confidentiality: FSAR adheres to strict privacy policies for the protection of the citizens whom we assist in rescues or searches.  As such, we adhere to federal guidelines as specified under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which sets forth parameters for patient privacy rights.  Under HIPAA Regulations, a patient has the right to personal privacy and confidential treatment of all communications and records.  The HIPAA Privacy Rule ensures the patient has the right to control the use and release of personal health records as well as having the right to expect health care providers will protect the privacy of the patient's protected health information.

  • Patient confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

  • A written synopsis will be completed at the end of each search day by the
FSAR “Officer in Charge” and submitted to FSAR Director.  The Synopsis will include a description of the mission FSAR completed, any accidents or incidents, other agencies FSAR was directly involved in SAR with, any rope rescue or swift water rescue FSAR members participated in.

  • Standing down/team deactivation – FSAR members will be notified via text/email as with activation call-outs.  

  • A Post-Incident Debrief will occur when FSAR team has completed the mission for the day. This is to share what worked well during the day as well as any concerns within the Team – to bring conclusion to the day.

  • Incident reviews: all incidents, successful or unsuccessful, will be reviewed with FSAR staff at monthly meetings.   

  • If an FSAR group or individual member is impacted by a significant scene encountered during a SAR, Tri-County EMS Regional Critical Management Team 207-777-6000, ask for CISM Team Member) is available to assist.

18. Training

Training is an essential component of Franklin Search and Rescue and mandates ongoing training as key to individual and team safety. Members should never operate beyond their scope of certification or level of training. Practicing beyond these may result in inactive status or dismissal from the FSAR organization.

FSAR operates under the policies and guidelines of Maine Search and Rescue (MASAR) and plans monthly trainings accordingly. Active members should attend the majority of these meetings to enhance individual and team skills. It is recommended members also work towards Basic Search and Rescue (BASAR) certification.

In addition to monthly training, FSAR engages in extended training exercises with state and local agencies that put the monthly meeting topics into practical training exercises. These include rope rescue, backcountry scenarios, and coverage at Baxter State Park. These activities are strongly recommended for all FSAR members.

FSAR recognizes that many of the team members have strong individual skills and experiences that enhance the organization and encourages members to be involved in training. Individual experiences and training however, cannot take the place of team sponsored and organized training, and it is essential that all active members participate in team activities.

19. FSAR Team gear

• Team gear and equipment is stored at the Kingfield Fire Department.  Gear is
secured in locked storage cabinets. Such gear is available by access of
combination padlocks whose combinations are provided to members for
access as needed.

• Equipment includes items such as a Cascade litter and wheel, Wiggies bag,
WFR level first aid kits, external frame packs, climbing ropes and various
rope rescue equipment, topographical maps, Motorola PR 860 radios and
batteries, etc..

• Responders may be asked to pick up items at the KFD when enroute to a call

• A gear and equipment log is kept current and included inside the cabinet as
well as a sign out sheet. Other information such as date of purchase is
kept on file.

• Inspection of all gear by a Rope Rescue team member, particularly ropes and rope rescue hardware, shall be examined every time it is taken out and before it is put into use.  The log should be filled out with information such as name, date of use, date of exam, etc.

• If gear is damaged or found to be defective the equipment should be taken out
of service and an FSAR board member should be notified.

• In 2015 FSAR also has available, through the Franklin County Emergency
Management Agency, a Stealth cargo trailer which will be utilized for
equipment transport and storage.


FSAR Team Leader

The Team Leader (TL) is tasked with making the expected challenges of the mission clear to all responding FSAR members before deployment. What kind of terrain, weather, elevation, ground cover, weather, duration, etc. might the team be expected to operate in? The TL should encourage the team to think about and discuss their current level of fitness/readiness. The goal is assign each team member an appropriate task that will maximize their effectiveness in the field.

Responsibilities of the TL:
  • Receive mission briefing from IC, asking clarifying questions and understand requirements
  • Inspect clothing and equipment of team members
  • Insure that the departing team has enough gear such as maps, rope, etc. so that if
  • team divides in the field all units are adequately supplied.
  • Make team assignments: safety, navigation, radio, recorder, medical, stokes carrier.
  • insure the safety and welfare of the team.
  • Lead team performance of the mission in accordance with the IC directives.
  • Monitor performance and physical status of team members.
  • Keep IC informed via radio or phone during mission.
  • Provide complete debriefing for IC at conclusion of assignment.
  • Compete a synopsis of the event as described in the Documentation Section and submit to FSAR Director. (I’ll create a standardized after action report to use)

FSAR Incident Commander: is tasked with the overall management of the FSAR
personnel. The individual is expected to follow the ICS 100 operational management

Duties include:

1. Establish communications with the local jurisdiction communications center (Franklin Comm, BSP, etc.) and the Maine Warden Service.
2. Establish objectives for the particular SAR incident.
3. Activate resources for achieving the SAR objectives. Activation may include
deployment of resources or placing resources on standby.
4. Establishing an incident command post. The ICP should be established with
consideration of connectivity to resources and deployment of SAR personnel.
5. Maintain communication with FSAR personnel.
6. Provide incident documentation upon closure of the incident.

The FSAR Safety Officer is tasked with assuring the safety of responders and
monitoring and anticipating hazards and conditions deemed unsafe.
Duties include:

1. Evaluate the preparedness of FSAR responders and make recommendation to
assure safety.

2. Continuously monitor safety and health considerations during the mission.

3. Alter, suspend, or terminate activities that pose safety or health dangers to FSAR

4. Document both safe and unsafe acts, corrective actions taken on scene, accident or
injuries, and ways to improve the safety of future missions. This should be included in the synopsis report post mission and submitted to FSAR Director.

SOPs Adopted 2-23-2015
Unanimous Approved by FSAR board of directors

Steve Yates
Paul Marcolini
Pay Cyr
Steve Mitman
Barry London

Appendix A

MASAR Recommended Minimum Personal Equipment List

The following is a list of the minimum equipment which MASAR recommends ground
searchers have with them when responding to a search and/or rescue call. Equivalent
items or combinations are acceptable, as noted. The list may be expanded to suit
personal tastes, but the basic equipment normally carried while searching should not
impair maneuverability or endurance.

Each searcher should be prepared to carry their equipment in winter conditions in
rough terrain for up to 12 hours in the field (and 24 hours in a survival situation).. Basic
equipment may be carried in a fanny pack or small day pack that can be stuffed inside
the main pack when necessary. An additional supply of extra clothing, etc., that can be
left at the search base is strongly recommended for all response situations.

NOTE: This list assumes that the searcher will be properly dressed for the season,
as well as the prevailing and anticipated conditions.

Year-Round Equipment

  • Ready Pack Small, light-weight pack, vest with storage pockets, or
  • fanny pack
  • Compass: Liquid-filled with sighting mirror, plus spare. Spare may be
  • GPS unit; if so, bring spare batteries for it
  • Time keeper: Watch or equivalent
  • International Orange Vest: Required item
  • Light: Headlamp, plus a second light source. Both to have extra
  • batteries and spare bulb, if the latter is replaceable
  • Lightstick: Cyalume or equal
  • Whistle: Plastic recommended
  • Eye protection: Sunglasses with high UV protection, and goggles (the
  • latter for protection from airborne debris)
  • Hand protection: Work gloves with padded palms for litter carrying
  • Ear protection: 2 sets of disposable foam ear plugs or equal
  • Lip protection: Lip balm or equivalent (optional, but recommended)
  • Skin protection: Sunscreen (optional, but recommended)
  • Survival Knife: Folding knife with multiple tools (locking blade
  • recommended)
  • Fire Starter: Two types; at least one must be waterproof
  • Candle: High temperature type that will not melt in pack
  • Cord: 20 feet of parachute cord

Recommended Minimum Equipment List
Rev. 5 -- 3 March 2013
Suggested SOP Addition List (Not Adopted yet)

Minimum Personal Equipment for FSAR Rope Rescue Team

Personal Protective Equipment

o Helmet

o Harness

o Gloves

4-6 Locking carabiners

4-6 Non-locking carabiners

Purcell Prussik set

Tandem prussic set

10 meters 8mm cord

1-2 Prussik minding  pulleys

Descent control device

2 Runners (120cm) (60cm)


4-6 ft. webbing

**Winter specific equipment


Mountaineering Axe