Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council

General Meeting Minutes

March 19, 1994

Agenda: see Attachment #1.

Attendance: see Attachment #2.

Called to order at 10:05 AM by President Peter McCabe

Quorum: 14 organizations represented by delegates are present, with a minimum quorum being 7 organizations.

Officer/Committee Reports

Secretary's Report

Minutes of last December's meeting passed out as previously mailed to all member organizations; also Irv Lichtenstein's [GPSR] letter regarding proposed amendments to the minutes passed out (see Attachment #3.) Informal discussion: Irv's #7: the problem with PSARC Resource Forms not getting updated at STATCOM seems not to be a problem with the Vice President, but with Lee Lyons moving twice; since Lee is unable to attend, Keith Conover [AMRG/NCRC] will ensure that STATCOM has all the updated 1993 forms. Irv's #8: ethics: this has been assigned to the Bylaws Committee; see below. Irv Lichtenstein [GPSR] moved, Tom Hirchak [Keystone] seconded, and the minutes from December were unanimously accepted as modified by Irv's letter with the above further amendments. Minutes of the last Board meeting passed out (See Attachment #4), and the Disciplinary Procedure Policy for Delegates and other Officers approved at that meeting (See Attachment #5). Consensus was that Board minutes should be approved at the next meeting of the Board but don't need to be approved by the membership.

Treasurer's Report

No formal report available; since last meeting, we've had some income from patches.

Teller Committee

(Keith Conover [AMRG/NCRC], Steve Houck [WEST/SMRG], Gene Harrison [AMRG/SMRG])

New officers elected; summary passed out by President Peter McCabe (See Attachment #6). The Bylaws are now amended to become Articles of Incorporation; all provisions that passed did so by the required 2/3 margin. A copy of the new Articles of Incorporation was passed out. (See Attachment #7.)

We will need to have special elections within the month to elect new directors, at which time the President plans to appoint some new officers.

Informal Discussion Suggestion: We need an application/log form for team membership, with places to be signed by the various officers that need to approve things. Bruce Barton suggested we develop a packet with information about PSARC membership, with more up-to-date information than in the old packet, including all binding policies (Secretary to provide) and standards. Keith will develop the form and the list of polices, Martha-Ann Ackroyd-Geary and Bruce Barton will develop the packet.

Training Committee

Keith and others are working on tests for the existing standards.

Copies of all existing official PSARC standards were passed out, one to a team.

Communications Committee

No unfinished business to report on.

Bylaws Committee

(Jim Hill [Mifflin SAR], chair; Keith Conover [AMRG/NCRC], Joy Hackman [SAVES])

Charged with developing something under ethics; but has been awaiting clarification on its charge. By direction of the President with general consensus, the Bylaws Committee will work on developing ethical standards for team and team member conduct. The new Disciplinary Procedure Policy for Delegates and other Officers does not apply to teams or team members who are not acting on behalf of PSARC, but may serve as a model for team procedures, too. Jim Hill will nominate to the President new members to represent both Northern and Eastern Regions.

Standards Committee

(Tom Hirchak [Keystone SAR], chair; Martha-Ann Ackroyd-Geary [Somerset SAR], Roy Keiser [STRIKE], Jim Howley [Thornhurst SAR], with others sitting in from time to time)

Committee not active at present, but will arrange and publicize a new meeting. Anyone with interest or valuable experience or insight welcome to contribute to the standards process and to attend Standards Committee meetings. Still four standards under development, including mounted SAR standards.

PSARC Operations and Mutual Aid Activities

(very informal discussion):

        need for more resource information for teams and responsible agents; something better than the Resource Forms, and more detailed than the PSARC Map with team names, locations, and phone numbers. Peter: starts to get expensive in terms of keeping up to date; perhaps. Tina Clark, GPSR: why not distribute on floppy disks, too?

        M/SAR is maintaining a detailed database of all SAR Council and other SAR teams from North Carolina north; available from Peter McCabe. Looking for someone who's older, at home a lot, who could act as dispatcher for PSARC.

        Some concerns roused by the Personal Wilderness Medical Kit list circulated to SAR teams and EMS Agencies by the Wilderness EMS Institute: is it legal for Wilderness EMTs to carry and give medications other than those on the approved state drug list? Yes, if physician supervised; not clear if "EMS" even applies to wilderness patients. (See Attachments #8-10: letters between WEMSI and PA EMS.)

        Motion, by Bruce Barton, NESAR, seconded by Irv Lichtenstein, GPSR: Copies of all Resource Forms to all teams. Unanimous vote in favor.

Mission Reports and Critique:

        Martha-Ann Ackroyd-Geary, Somerset SAR: Do we need a generic Mutual Aid Policy? Irv: was proposed and voted down at a previous meeting.

        Irv Lichtenstein, GPSR: there was a recent mission in which team members were searching with no authorization by the local responsible agency, and thus had no Workers' Compensation.

PEMA Report

(Bob Long)

Contacting local agencies for a search: there are some SAR teams that go out without alerting the local EMA coordinator or other local responsible agencies: don't. Always get approval from local authorities.

CAP: now has PEMA-CAP memorandum of understanding. Bob Long [PEMA] and Ken Boyles [DER], among others, will offer a ground SAR management course for CAP Mission Coordinators.

Mailings: VoAD: Volunteer Agencies active in Disaster: meets quarterly. PEMA sends out a resource list to these organizations once a year, and as PEMA and PSARC work together more closely, this may offer a means for funding distribution of SAR resource information.

Urban SAR: Pat Depp [not PSARC affiliated] has been certified as an Urban SAR dog handler, and can now train other people in Pennsylvania.

Legislative: SAR is now disorganized, as were EMS in the 60's and HAZMAT in the 70's and 80's. And, rescue has gotten a lot of attention recently in the state legislature.

PEMA met to discuss the PSARC letter last Friday. Bob also notes that there is a lot more activity within the legislature about SAR than there has been before.

Three things being resurrected but are still being discussed at the state level:

        Amendments to existing state legislation to let a state agency coordinate SAR.

        A draft SAR act, very brief.

        A large authorizing/funding act on SAR.

None of these has a number, or is available for comment at this point; not clear when or if any of these will actually become official enough for the public to see and comment on.

PEMA thinks the proposal for a SAR board is probably, in general a good way to go. However, some of the details may differ from the PSARC proposal. And, a caution: legislation is a slow process. The SAR Board may be set up as an advisory body to begin with, even if no legislation yet exists to give it any authority.

The fire service has developed a "white paper," published in the Pennsylvania Fireman, that proposes sweeping changes to emergency services, including putting SAR under the fire service. This will have unknown impact at the state legislature.

Tom Hirchak/Keith Conover: If members wish to get information about the current actions in the legislature, they should contact their own representatives. Members could, if they wish, provide a copy of the PSARC letter to PEMA to their legislative representatives.

Communications Resources: Bruce Barton: are PEMA communications resources available for operations? Bob Long [PEMA]: counties usually have more resources than PEMA at the state level. The state has some communications and other equipment for the Urban SAR Task Force, but not clear if any of this would be available for any other SAR activities.

Need for Legislation? President Peter McCabe: PSARC position is that there appears to be no need for special legislation to allow the state SAR system outlined in his letter to PEMA (Attachment #11).

New Business


Clinton Co. 4x4 SAR: also a dog group; applied for membership and paid for membership last year, but we neglected to vote them into membership. Has recently absorbed Mid-Regional ACES; consensus was that this should make no difference in their acceptance. Voted to apply Clinton Co.'s 1993 dues for 1994.

White Deer SAR: has applied for membership, meets all requirements.

Moved by Bruce Barton [NESAR], seconded by Irv Lichtenstein [GPSR], accepted by unanimous consent: to accept both White Deer SAR and Clinton Co. 4x4/Mid-Regional ACES as members.

Nominating Committee

Need to hold elections for new directors, for four (4) year terms, according to new Article of Incorporation.

Vicki Coup [STRIKE] (address and phone on attached sign-in) is appointed as Chair of the new Nominating Committee; interested people should talk to her today. Would like a committee of at least four people, representing each region of the Council; we must have Director from each of the regions, as required by the Articles of Incorporation.

Irv Lichtenstein [GPSR]: by electing all our new directors at the same time, we lose the staggered terms that have served us so well.

Moved by Irv, seconded by Tom Hirchak [Keystone], that the Bylaws Committee shall research the problems of assuring staggered Director terms, especially in light of the Articles of Incorporation stating "The term of one of the Members-at-Large shall expire at each Annual Meeting of the Council," and arrange for a mail ballot within 30 days of their recommendations. Unanimous vote in favor.

Articles of Incorporation

We need to add a purposes statement to the Articles; a proposal was put forth by the President (See Attachment #12).

Andy Appel [WEST]: looks very complete, should be no problem with IRS.

We will put this out for a vote in the near future.

VHF Radio License

The President had asked the communications Committee to prepare a detailed written report.

Written letter from STRIKE K-9 SAR (Attachment #13), including a motion to drop consideration of problems associated with getting the VHF radio license, read by Gayl James [STRIKE]. Irv Lichtenstein [GPSR] seconded. A call for a written vote met with a consensus. Fourteen (14) votes collected by written secret ballot from accredited representatives. Vote: Yes 4, No 10, so the motion failed.

A written report had been prepared by communications committee, and was available for distribution. The President said he would give it to those who need to review this information. Consensus was that this information should not be publicly disclosed, but submitted only to the review board. It was observed that a motion passed at the last meeting required the President to appoint a mutually acceptable three-member investigation board by this meeting, but careful review of the minutes revealed that there was no time limit on the President's appointments. Peter nominated the following people for the review board: Andy Appel [WEST], Keith Conover [AMRG/NCRC], and Jim Hill [Mifflin SAR]. Alternate: Tina Clark [GPSR]. Asked the Council Delegates if they had any objection to any of these people. No, all are acceptable to the Council. Asked Bruce Barton and NESAR if they are willing to approve/strike names at this point. No. These names will be submitted in writing to Bruce Barton and NorthEast SAR for their approval. If Barton and NESAR do not approve of at least three of these four nominees, they will propose their own nominees by written letter to the President. Bruce stated that NESAR's Board of Directors will need to review the nominees at their next meeting.

New Standards

New individual standards activities for 1994: the following are in development. Medical Specialist, Communications Specialist, Mantracking, and Rescue Specialist.

Keith suggested that as far as Medical Specialist, we might want to wait until ASTM gets further with their Wilderness First Responder standard.


ASTM: Bruce Barton [NESAR] suggested we need better representation to ASTM and to hear what's going on there, as it may affect us. Keith Conover [AMRG/NCRC]: explained a bit about the ASTM process [I won't repeat it here as it will appear in the SAR NET; see below --KC.]

ASTM members present at this meeting: Martha Ann Ackroyd-Geary [Somerset SAR], Keith Conover, Irv Lichtenstein [GPSR].

Moved by Barton, seconded by Irv, that the President appoint a representative to ASTM. President Peter McCabe appointed Irv Lichtenstein to this post, and asked him to send a letter to ASTM indicating that he would be representing PSARC.

Keit his very active in ASTM, and will get some information on ASTM goings-on into the SAR Net.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Keith explained in brief terms how the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to PSARC. Basically the act says that you can't exclude those with disabilities from SAR activities, unless there are Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications (BFOQ) that exclude them. He explained that the ASRC requires physical ability to do SAR at the ASRC Field Team Leader level for all of their qualification levels, including Incident Commander, Incident Staff, and even Base Radio Operator. However, they debated the issue of disability in detail, and decided that FTL abilities were indeed BFOQ. Therefore, the ASRC will likely have no problems with ADA compliance despite their rigid qualifications. However, PSARC never even considered disabilities during our discussion of standards.

Moved by Irv, seconded by Martha, referred to Standards Committee to recommend possible changes in existing and proposed PSARC standards to deal with disabilities. Noted by Irv that standards might have a "sunset clause" and might expire; however, review of the minutes showed no such motion was passed.

Board of Directors Minutes: Recommendations

Moved by Bruce Barton [NESAR], seconded by Andy Appel [WEST] that the Council accept the two recommendations in the Board of Directors Minutes. Unanimously accepted.

Adjourned at about 1440 hours.

Attachments: 1. Planned Agenda; 2. Meeting attendance; 3. Lichtenstein's letter regarding December minutes; 4. Minutes of February Board meeting; 5. Disciplinary Procedure Policy for Delegates and other Officers; 6. New Officers; 7. Articles of Incorporation; 8,9,10: WEMSI/PA EMS letters; 11. Letter to PEMA; 12. Proposed Purposes addition to Articles of Incorporation; 13. letter from STRIKE; 14. Treasurer's Report subsequently received in the mail and attached.