Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council

General Meeting Minutes

June 12, 1993

Attendance: see Attachment #1.

Called to order at 1000 hours by President Peter McCabe. A quorum was established.

Review of Standards Development:

Individual standards were determined as our focus for the near term, with the following now established:

        Callout Qualified

        Field Team Member

        Field Team Leader

Secretary's Report

Prior minutes (for March) were distributed, read, and there were no modifications or corrections. They were accepted as read (but see below).

Treasurer's Report

        $1708.30 in account.

        New telephone number for Treasurer: (814) 486-9479 (H)

Member Teams unpaid for 1993:



        AMRG (check submitted today)

        Rescue 40

        Bucktail SAR (see below)

        Vigilant Hose Co.

        Upper Delaware Nordic Patrol

        Mon Valley Divers

        Search 1 (defunct; see Western Regional Report)

Directors' Reports

Ken Boyles, Operations; Martha Ann Ackroyd-Geary, Membership; Tom Hirchak, Training; Ron Wisbith, Group Standards: no reports except for in old and new business only.

President's Report

Re: Communications Committee matters from last meeting: see Attachment #2. No discussion.

Regional Reports

Eastern Regional, Irv Lichtenstein: At the last regional meeting, we mostly talked about standards, with some very heated discussion; we also suggested some more Bylaws changes, which were published in the May 11 SAR Communications Net, mailed to all member teams.

Central: Our meeting held on March 27 was very poorly attended. So we rescheduled another for April 24, and had better attendance. The main topic was fund-raising for the SAR Council.

Western: Mon Valley and MED-SAR were only ones in attendance, and tentatively planned a large dog and water rescue combined simulation at Raccoon Run State Park, probably in late July, but the date is not definite yet. Per a reliable verbal report, Search 1 has disbanded; and, mail is now being returned from their address.

Committee Reports

Membership: no report.

Training, Tom Hirchak: no report.

Communications, Alan Houck: permission was given by PSARC for ASRC to use PSARC license until their new license comes in (see Attachment #3). This was discussed and voted on at the March meeting, but needs to be added to the March minutes (change accepted by consensus).

Bylaws Committee: The consensus was that the Bylaws had been amended by a vote at the March meeting; that it was a general meeting, not just a special meeting to discuss the standards; and such an amendment to the minutes of the March meeting is accepted. This is the proposed change that was published in the SAR Communications Net prior to the meeting ###. Other items to be handled under new business.

Nominations Committee, Roy: The committee will make nominations for President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and one Director (Ken Boyles' position).

Mission Critique

Details of some recent searches and rescues were provided by several teams. Particular points to note: Keith Conover, M.D. is state medical director for National Cave Rescue Commission, and will be publishing protocols and standing orders for cave rescue for the state; they will be distributed when ready, and may be of some use by teams in their dealing with fire and EMS agencies. Data on the activity patterns of lost people with Alzheimer's disease is available in a study published by Bob Koester of Charlottesville, VA, and will be discussed at the next meeting.

Old Business

        Many teams, both members and nonmembers, still need to submit 1993 resource forms (including Somerset County, it was duly noted with much laughter).

        One team notes that they have paid their dues, and their check was cashed, (Huntingdon Co.) though haven't been accepted as members yet; we will investigate.

        Ad-Hoc Forms Committee, Keith Conover: we are still trying to set up weekend meeting with Thrash and Harrison, may occur late this summer.

New Business

PEMA, Bob Long:

PEMA has met with PA CAP three times in the past month, and also met with Penn DOT on two occasion. CAP will now be linked to PEMA rather than Penn DOT (PA Dept. of Transportation). Mr. Long also discussed CAP's lack of coordination with other SAR agencies in past, which he expects to change in the future. He said CAP has expressed to PEMA their desire to follow the PSARC training standards. They may open their Hawk Mountain ranger training camp to other organizations for SAR training. Also, several legislators who have had complaints about SAR approached PEMA about "who runs SAR in PA." Some of the staff people in the house have looked at draft legislation, including: CAP, ground SAR, and urban SAR. Mr. Long noted that complaints by disgruntled SAR personnel to legislators may cause legislation not in the best interests of PSARC or SAR in Pennsylvania as a whole.

Incorporation, Lee Lyons:

not present. He was waiting for copy of Bylaws, which were sent; however, due to these delays, President Peter McCabe has relieved Lee Lyons of this responsibilities.

Operations, Ken Boyles:

1. Peter: would like to make sure that the three regions are used to make sure all teams within a region are notified of any SAR operations in the area. Originally, the regions were: West, North, South, and East. This used I-80 and the Laurel Highlands to divide the state. We thought about starting a Northwest region when there was some interest in the Erie area. But, none of the teams seeming to form there have either organized or become active with PSARC. Tom Hirchak: except for Eastern Region, regional meetings are poorly attended; suggest that regions exist only for training, and that we move back to quarterly statewide meetings. Roy: what are regions supposed to do? Central region felt that regional meetings were not just for training, but for discussions; also perhaps for fundraising for developing training libraries, training sessions, and other items (e.g., a base station radio).

Moved by Tom Hirchak: "return to quarterly statewide meetings as close to the end of quarter of possible, in Harrisburg." Second by Ken Boyles. Discussion: the Public Safety Institute is funded by the County and they may start charging; however, the meeting site today at HACC (not at the Public Safety Institute) was agreed by those present to be a better facility. Keith: this does not preclude the Regions from meeting if they wish, for regional training and coordination; that was the consensus of those present. Passed unanimously.

2. Forms: need to adopt procedures to send master copies to each SAR; Keith will send out good originals of present forms with the next minutes. (Attachment, unnumbered)

3. Mission Coordinator plan: Had looked primarily at the Colorado model, and sent out a draft of a plan and even though still a rough draft, it aroused many comments. ("I want to be a MC!" "Me too!" "Me!" "Me!") Who would appoint these MCs? Ken first suggested that he appoint them. However, the MC would not necessarily be an IC. A duty officer would be responsible for dispatching regional resources. If they got a call for resources, the DO would, being knowledgeable about PSARC policies and resources. The DO would not necessarily respond to the scene. Points out that standards are important, because this moves the question of "appropriate" resources for an operation from personality to objectivity. No funding; will be entirely volunteer. Still to premature to discuss in detail. Hasn't been sent out because haven't had a time to talk about it in meetings, and also waiting to see what happens with PEMA. Excerpt from current draft:

State MCs are nominated by PSARC and appointed by PEMA. Qualifications for appointment include:

1. At least 5 years of experience coordinating multiple-agency ground SAR missions.

2. Familiarity with resources available within and without the state and through AFRCC.

3. Familiarity with the ICS.

4. Successful completion of NASAR's MSF course, ERI's MSO course, or the National SAR School's "long" course.

5. Active membership in an organized SAR team.

6. Available by pager through a 24-hour contact.

7. Own or have access to a vehicle with a mobile radio.

Much informal discussion followed, including a long discussion of the levels of authority and responsibility for SAR and how the proposed MC system would fit into this. Keith suggested (1) that MCs are chosen for their expertise in recommending and dispatching resources based on their SAR experience, (2) that we have yet to pass even a basic motion supporting the idea, and (3) we might start by simply moving PSARC's toll-free number from a resource referral number to a MC system where our MCs can respond to a call with specific recommendations.

Motion (Keith, seconded by Jim): That, at the next meeting, Director Ken Boyles propose an internal MC plan similar to the draft previously circulated among the officers for a vote at the next meeting. Discussion: could it be mailed out prior to the next meeting? Probably yes. Consensus on the following: this plan will not contain names of MCs, but will include a method for appointing them; it will not include any mention of PEMA. Passed by unanimous consent.

4. Unified Command: Keith noted that ASTM is working through some changes in the Unitary Unified Command proposal that prompted PSARC to adopt its Unitary Unified Command Policy. When this is finalized, we may want to review it and revise our policy. Until then, our current policy is still operational.


PSARC patches will be available soon. Will we sell the patches? Yes, money will go back into a revolving fund to get more patches.


Do the State Fire Academy courses meet the new PSARC standards? Answer: there is lots of overlap between the current courses and the standards, so, retrofitting the Fire Academy courses to meet the standards will not be difficult. The Fire Academy is now working out a standard testing procedure for all of its classes. There is a Fire Academy local level instructor program as well. Keith: over years of work with ASTM, found that ASTM uses the word "standard" only as an adjective. For personnel, should have a standard guide for training and a standard test method for each of the training levels. Will submit suggested changes in format to members of the Standards/Training Committee regarding these. Ken: having PSARC standards would not prevent people from implementing them locally without having to go through the Fire Academy or Fire Academy local instructor program. (Members present accepted by consensus.) Jim will address grandfathering, and about whether there will be a training officer within each team to enforce the standards; and at what level the testing will occur, and who will offer the certification. Motion (Keith, seconded by Irv): that the Standards/Training Committee will present a formal proposal regarding implementation of the training standards at the next meeting. Passed by unanimous consent.

Final Draft of IS and IC: (see attachment #4) accepted unanimously as amended by:

- changing 11.d from "shifting POD" to "shifting POA";

- changing in both IS and IC qualifications: ". . . Managing Search Operations (MSO) or other recognized equivalent as approved by a vote of the membership of the SAR Council, and successfully pass. . ."

- We had a long discussion of whether IS and IC personnel just need to have FTL experience in the past, or must have current FTL certification. This was based on WEST's observation that they have handicapped individuals who can never meet FTL but might be good IS: moved by Keith and seconded by Irv, to strike paragraphs 2,3,+5 under Qualifications for IS, and replace with "Pass a FTL written test." Motion failed by a large proportion.

- moved by Irv, seconded by Andy Appel: need to change "Definition" and "Note" to the following: This standard defines the skills, experience, and knowledge required for qualification as Plans or Operations Section Chief as defined in the ICS. Passed by unanimous consent.

        Moved by Keith and seconded by Ken to accept IS as modified above. Accepted by unanimous vote.

        Moved by Andy, seconded by Keith, to accept IC as written and modified above. Accepted by unanimous vote.

        Dog Handler, Medical Specialist, Rescue Specialist: still to be discussed by teams and send comments to Jim Howley at Thorhurst.


Moved by Keith and seconded by Andy, passed unanimously, that the Bylaws Committee provide a redlined copy of the Bylaws with suggested changes and with footnotes explaining the intent and probable consequences of each change to be distributed at the September meeting. It was observed that the current spate of proposed changes were difficult to apprehend in their current format.

Membership Matters

        Palisades SAR Dog Association, Milburn, NJ, is applying for readmission; dues paid; accepted unanimously.

        CAP, PA Wing; completed application received; entire Wing is joining as a single team. Moved by Irv, seconded by Keith, unanimously accepted.

        West Branch SAR: dues not paid, mail being returned, no longer a member.

        Search 1: disbanded, no longer a member.

        Cameron Co. EMA: dues not paid, no longer a member; Secretary has sent notice.

        Bucktail SAR: disbanded. Will ask Mountaineer SAR, possibly a successor to it, whether they want to join; Keith is attempting to investigate by writing Mr. Haas.

Training Matters

It was suggested a PSARC sponsored MSO course in the fall, in Harrisburg: Ken Boyles will work with Tom Hirchak to do this.

Communications Matters

GPSAR has a new vehicle-mounted repeater.

September 26, Tyler State Park, Bucks County: GPSAR sponsoring multi-agency search exercise.

Next Meeting

December 11, at HACC in Harrisburg, though date may change; will be announced in next SAR Communications Net.

Adjourned at 3:07 PM; Respectfully submitted, Keith Conover, M.D., Secretary.

Attachments: (1) Attendance; (2) letter to Mr. Barton; (3) Memorandum of understanding with Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference regarding radio license; (4) Final Draft of IS and IC standards; and copy of PSARC Forms Packet.