Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council

Meeting Minutes

June 30, 1990 (Saturday), State Fire Academy, Lewistown

Groups represented:

Paid members present

SAVES (Shippensburg Area Vertical Evacuation and Search)

Greater Philadelphia SAR

Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group, ASRC/MRA Rescue 40

Somerset County EMA ESAR Post 616, ASRC/MRA DER - State Parks

Paid but not present

EMRS SAR Services

Vigilant SAR

Keystone SAR


DER - State Forests

Members last year; not present, dues not paid

Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group, ASRC/MRA Juniata SAR

NorthEast SAR

Observers (nonmembers)

PA Wing, Civil Air Patrol

Individuals present

Keith Conover, M.D. 36 Robinhood Road, Pittsburgh PA, 15220 412-561-3413 (AMRG)

Bruce Trego 47 Forsythe St., Lewistown, PA 17044 717-242-0234 (Fire Academy/SAVES)

Ron Wisbith 43 Fifth Avenue Koppel, PA 16136 412-843-5378 (Rescue 40)

Peter McCabe 11034 Berrypick, Columbia, MD 21044 301-596-5554 (ASRC)

Joe Thrash RD #1 Box 75 Friedens, PA 15541 814-445-4762 (Somerset Co./CAP)

Larry Kearns 1424 Ritner Hwy., Shippensburg, PA 717-532-9643 (SAVES)

Jack Humbertson 355 Stoystown Rd., Somerset, PA 15501 814-443-3777 (Somerset Co.)

Martha Ann Ackroyd RD 2 Box 46 Friedens, PA 15541 814-445-6689 (Somerset Co.)

Ken Boyles 1599 Doubling Gap Rd., Newville, PA 17241 717-776-5272 (DER-Parks)

Irv Lichtenstein 704 Preston Rd., Erdenheim, PA 19118-1327 215-233-3360 (GPSAR)

The meeting was called to order at 1035 by Bruce Trego, Vice-President. President Irv Lichtenstein arrived at about 1130 and assumed the chair.

Correction to last meeting's minutes: The State Fire Academy Search First Responder has been given for 3-4 years; only the Grid I and Grid II classes are new.


(Boyles) PEMA has taken on the task of "coordinating" the state relationship with Scott AFB. (This gives them some degree of responsibility for SAR, but not really any authority.) Annex 5 of the state Emergency Operations Plan is now being amended to require a county SAR plan in every county. It also stipulates that any multi jurisdictional incident (more than .one agency or township) becomes a county incident; the county can (but is not required to) assume authority. You may get a copy of Annex 5 from your local County EMA. The consensus was that we use a few good model county plans, along with public pressure, to get all counties to adopt good SAR plans. A good draft SAR plan for Somerset County is available from Joe Thrash, address above. Another suggestion: that PSARC send representative to regional PEMA meetings.

(Various) PEMA has only about 6 search teams currently listed on their computer. (Various) State Fire Academy Search Classes:

1. Managing Search Operations (MSO)- a course by Emergency Response Institute (ERI), similar to the NASAR Managing the Search Function (MSF) course, but may be taught by local instructors, unlike MSF, which must be taught by NASAR instructors. The NASAR MSF is accepted as an equivalent. Now have 5-7 instructors available, which is adequate. Courses are being offered on a regular basis at the Fire Academy. The cost for the Fire Academy MSO course is just $25 for books, compared to $275 for the NASAR MSF course.

2. Search First Responder: there are already adequate instructors to meet the present (low) demand (about 7).

3. Grid I and Grid 11: No "train a trainer" classes have yet been offered for the by the State Fire Academy (for "SAR basic grid team" or Grid I and "SAR advanced," or Grid II); the Fire Academy will see about having these classes soon. Requirements for instructor certification: 1 year of active SAR with an organized SAR team, SFR training, and training in education equivalent to that required of all Fire Academy instructors. Instructors must have education training, but need not have fire service training, to become a Fire Academy "nonsuppression instructor" to teach these classes. The Fire Academy and DER (the developer of these classes) will try to get volunteer teams to start offering these classes locally through the Fire Academy (which provides some funding). Announcement - (Boyles and Trego) The Fire Academy will need instructors for the Grid I and Grid II classes; There will be a maximum of about 10-12 instructors state-wide. DER and the Fire Academy will announce through the SAR Council when they will start accepting applications for instructor certification. (Le., don't bug them about this until they announce the program in a few months!)

Action items derived from announcements (approved by consensus):

Action item: Send to each member and officer: proposed Annex 5 of the state Emergency Operations Plan; information on search First Responder classes including the names of instructors available to teach courses; and a copy of the PSARC folder original. (Keith Conover, Secretary.)

Action item: contact PEMA to ask a PSARC representative to speak at each of their regional meetings, preferably on a continuing basis. Will also (Martha Ann Ackroyd, Somerset Co.)

Old Business:

1. (Ken Boyles) We had talked, at one point, of having state-wide PSARC meetings twice a year and regional meetings more often. Those present were generally in favor of this plan. January and June would be regional, coordinated by one team in each region, with a written report to the PSARC President to include in the quarterly newsletter. March and September would still be statewide meetings at the Fire Academy. Ken Boyles will make a formal proposal, with regional boundaries, at the next PSARC meeting (September); he will call the various teams to discuss details of the plan. (Elections are held by mail so they are not a problem). We will submit an agenda to the regional meetings from the state meetings. (Passed by consensus; to be formally proposed and voted on at Sept. meeting.)

2. Should we list ALL SAR teams in the resource survey, or just Council Members? Currently, all PSARC members get copies of a compilation of resource surveys for any organization submitting a resource form to the Council. Non-members do not get copies of the assembled resource list, except those at the last MSO class, which includes only 2 organizations that were not yet members. Consensus- put this topic on agenda for Sept. and establish formal policy. N.B. only PSARC members will be listed with STATCOM.

3. PSARC fall simulation. Our currently planned date of Oct. 27-29 includes the first day of turkey hunting season (very dangerous day!) We will change the dates to November 9-11; moved by Ken Boyles, seconded by Martha Ann Ackroyd, and then passed unanimously. It will be held in south-central Pennsylvania. Bruce Trego and his Training and Standards Committee will make the arrangements, working with SAVES. Moved by Joe, seconded by Martha, to accept the SAVES proposal (attached). Passed unanimously. (Will be as close as possible to a real mission.) Note - Maryland ESAR plans to complete its one remaining station of the MRA test at this simulation; other MRA testing might be possible at the simulation, too. Keystone and GPSAR have been interested in MRA membership; Rescue 40 and Somerset EMA are also interested.

4. Ken moved, Bruce seconded, and unanimously passed as amended: the draft agreement with STATCOM (attached).

5. Legislative Committee: Ron has made little headway with his local representative in getting a meeting with legislators set up. Members and teams speaking with their state representatives would help. Last time, with 16 sponsors, the bill went nowhere because other issues (abortion, finance, etc.) overshadowed it. Ron will investigate possible political roadblocks we can eliminate.

Special Order of the Day: Nominating Committee: to present slate of officers at the Sept. meeting. Keith Conover was involuntarily impressed to chair this committee.

Next meeting - Sept 29 (Sat), State Fire Academy, 1000 hours. Meeting Adjourned at about 1305 hours.

Respectfully submitted, Keith Conover, M.D.