We define Search and Rescue into several types; Mountain Rescue, Ground Search and Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue, Combat Search and Rescue and Air-Sea Search and Rescue.
Mountain rescue relates to search and rescue operations specifically in rugged and mountainous terrain.
Ground search and rescue is the search for persons who are lost or in distress on land or inland waterways. Traditionally associated with wilderness zones, ground search and rescue services are increasingly required in urban and suburban areas to locate persons with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, dementia, or other conditions that lead to wandering behavior.
Urban search and rescue (US&R or USAR), also referred to as Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR), is the location and rescue of persons from collapsed buildings or other urban and industrial entrapments. Due to the specialized nature of the work, most teams are multi-disciplinary and include personnel from police, fire and emergency medical services. Unlike traditional ground search and rescue workers, most US&R responders also have basic training in structural collapse and the dangers associated with live electrical wires, broken natural gas lines and other hazards.
Combat search and rescue (CSAR) is search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.
Air-sea rescue (ASR) refers to the combined use of aircraft (such as flying boats, floatplanes, amphibious helicopters and non-amphibious helicopters equipped with hoists) and surface vessels, to search for and recover survivors of aircraft downed at sea as well as sailors and passengers of sea vessels in distress.
The goal of SAR is to locate, stabilize and extract individuals in distress. That can mean a hiker on the side of a mountain, a sailor lost at sea, a trapped urban disaster survivor, a captured soldier or an Alzheimer’s patient wandering city streets. Each area of SAR employs techniques specific to the circumstance. Air and sea rescue requires skilled ocean swimmers and helicopter pilots. Combat rescue uses the military’s most accomplished Special Forces teams. Urban SAR requires hazardous material experts and structural specialists.