Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council


SEPTEMBER 30, 1995


The September 1995 quarterly business meeting of the Pennsylvania Search & Rescue Council (PSARC) was called to order at 19:30 hours by President Peter McCabe at the R.B. Winter State Park McCall's Dam area in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. (The meeting was held in conjunction with the PSARC two day training drill taking place at the park.)


Nine organizations represented by delegates were present, minimum quorum to conduct business is 7 organizations. Attendance: See Attachment #1.

The official business meeting was called to order around a blazing campfire under large white pines and a starry sky. A new applicant group Northeast Search and Tactical Rescue from Oley, Pennsylvania was welcomed to the meeting.

Secretary's Report:

Roger Tobias moved that the minutes from the May 20, 1995 General Meeting be accepted as published, second by Bryce Boyer, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed.

$Treasurer's Report:

Treasurer Greg Sassaman was unable to attend the drill and meeting. However, he FAXed the treasures report to Irv Lichtenstein which was distributed at the meeting. There was no motion made on accepting the report which will be distributed with the minutes, see attachment #2.

President's Report:

President McCabe distributed a list of Council and committee achievements in PSARC since 1991. He indicated he hopes that the new leadership coming in to office in December 1995 will continue to move forward in the same direction, see attachment #3.

Regional Reports

East:       No report

Central: Regional rep Ken Snyder is no longer planning to move to Florida. Welcome back Ken!

West:     No report

North:    No report


Committee Reports:

Articles of Incorporation/By-Laws:

Jim Hill, Chair Chair not present, no report.

Communications Committee:

Steve Houck, Chair No report given.

Membership Committee:

Don Scleza, Chair Chair not present at meeting, no report.

Nominating Committee:

Vicki Coup, Chair No report given. (See New Business)

Operations Committee:

Ken Boyles, Chair

Peter McCabe reported that Ken Boyles has recently resigned as Committee Chair but will remain active in working with the development of the EPLO program with PEMA and PSARC. McCabe suggested a motion be made to recognize Ken for all his hard work in SAR with some type of citation. Motion was made by Carol Prosseda to issue Ken a certificate of recognition for his achievements and dedication in search and rescue. Seconded by Jim Howley, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed. Peter McCabe indicated that with the resignation of Ken Boyles, he will work with the operations committee.

Carol Prosseda indicated she and Pat Hawn both agree that future PSARC Mission Resource Coordinators (MRCs) can not appropriately recommend dog teams for call outs unless Training Standards are in place and the (dog)team is rated qualified. They feel that the MRC could possibly be responsible for deploying a team which is not qualified to be in the field since we currently have no training and testing in place.

Carol Prosseda reported she has not received any Mission Reports from any teams. A simple form will be distributed with the next SAR net for teams to complete and send to Carol. Ken Boyles has also requested this information in the past and does not routinely receive it. It was suggested that Marion Hardy who receives the NASAR reports may be able to provide some back up information. This information should be sent to:

Carol Prosseda RR #4 box 4350 Milton, PA 17847.

Preplan Committee:

Ron Wisbith, Chair

Chair not present at meeting, no report given. Carol Prosseda relayed a message from Pat Hawn that Pat would like to be removed from the committee due to commitments in other areas.

Standards Committee:

Tom Hirchak, Chair

Tom Hirchak distributed the Rescue Specialist 2nd draft to the body for review. The draft will be considered at the December meeting.

Equine Standards SubCommittee: Irv Lichtenstein, Chair

Irv Lichtenstein reported the committee has not met, and no changes have been made yet on the most recent draft.

Canine Standards Sub Committee: Pat Hawn, Chair Chair not present at meeting. However, Carol Prosseda reported on discussion with Pat Hawn regarding how K-9 training and later testing could be developed. (Note: Additional information was to be forwarded for inclusion in these Minutes with further information reported in the next SAR Net. Information has not been received.)

Training Committee:

Jim Howley, Chair

Here we are!! Jim Howley expressed a special thanks to Roy Keiser and STRIKE K-9 for all their help in setting up the drill. There were 58 people participating in the drill and 17 groups attending as of the meeting Saturday night. The drill was designed to be a "choose your area of interest" style with sessions being offered in: compass, mantracking, high angle, grid/hasty, flag line/compass line, command post, map work, air scent, trailing, puppy training and much more. Communications were managed on all the assignments and every exercise had a subject or clues to find so it was a very rewarding experience to be in the field. Other suggestions from the floor were to have; call out style drills, a drill that addresses all the areas of our standards, attendance certificates made up for participants, charge a small fee to participants and have donuts/coffee provided or a meal.          This is the third drill offered in two years which has been open to all PSARC teams. Jim would like to suggest that any teams which are interested in hosting a drill like this should volunteer. Special thanks to Jim Howley for a wonderful job!


Managing Search Operation October 7,8 November 11, 12 Mountain Valley Search & Rescue, Call Bryce Boyer (814) 692-1060 for more info


Mission Reports and Critiques:

Mt. Valley reported a search in Centre County for a 75 year old male with Alzheimers disease. They had trouble getting manpower. After two days Centre Co wanted to suspend and as the search was winding down the subject walked in.

East Penn Mountaineers reported of a search involving approximately 300 volunteers at Mt. Pocono involving a 33 year old man. He was later found at another lake. Martha Geary told of a search for a 3 yr old where 67 fire company people gathered on the point last seen. This is an example of the need for education among searchers. The child was found in good condition a short distance away.

Carol Prosseda, STRIKE K-9, discussed a search in Shamokin (Ken Snyder's home town). The subject was found by Ken before many searchers got on scene.

Irv Lichtenstein, GPSR, told of a search at Valley Forge National Park where the body of a 19 month old and the mother were found deceased.

Jim Howley told of a search for a four year old autistic child that was found three miles away!

Rose Keller, told of a search with Keystone Search and Rescue, Blair County involving a five year old Amish girl at the family's farm in Sinking Valley. The find was made by infrared and a very happy father carried his little girl out of the fields.

CAP and Keystone also were involved in a downed aircraft incident in Sinking Valley.

Huntington County Sheriffs Posse also had a search for a lost pipeline worker in Black Log Valley area who was able to walk out.

MSAR, reported of several searches; one for a downed aircraft in Maryland, and searches in Virginia for a 22 year old student from James Madison University, a 63 year old man with Alzheimers Disease, and a 45 year old male berry picker.

Note: It was concluded these reported searches substantiate the need for organizing SAR mission reports. Peter McCabe suggested compiling information statistics on searches for persons with Alzheimers Disease which can be presented to law enforcement officials to help them understand the need for aggressive action in initial stages of mounting a search effort.

Administrative Items

Please make the following changes to your resource information files:

The telephone number for White Deer SAR is incorrect on the resource map. The correct emergency number is: 717-523-1113 or page: 800-812-7671 or 7670. Their information number is 717-568-0567.

Address change for East Penn Mountaineers. The address is: Wallace Street, PA BOX 1026, Stroudsburg, PA 18360 Emergency number: 717-420-1453.

The new address for Mt. Valley SAR is 261 Kelly Road, Port Matilda, PA 16870.

The following is the correct spelling of Palisades Search & Rescue Dogs and the correct town is Millburn, NJ.


Nominating Committee: Vicky Coup, Chair Vicki Coup read the slate of candidates:

President              Nelson Haas, Mountaineer SAR

Irv Lichtenstein, Greater Philadelphia SAR

Vice President     Jay Cooke, Greater Philadelphia SAR

Martha Geary, Somerset County SAR

Roy Keiser, STRIKE K-9

Secretary              Rose Keller, Huntington Cty Sheriffs Posse SAR

Director                              Jay Cooke, Greater Philadelphia SAR

Tom Hirchak, Keystone Search & Rescue

Keith Conover, M.D. Allegheny Mtn Rescue Group

Vicki made a call for additional nominations from the floor; none were received. There were also no corrections made to the list (slate) of written candidates. Vicki made a motion to accept the list of candidates as listed above, seconded by Jose Prewitt, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed. All nominees have submitted a short search and rescue biography to accompany the ballot.

Irv Lichtenstein raised a question if we had a nominee for the Treasurer's office. Carol Prosseda suggested the name of Jane Howley for the position of treasurer, Jane declined and it was determined she was not eligible since her husband Jim is a member of the Board of Directors. Rose Keller made a motion to add the name of Steve Houck, SMRG, to the ballot for the treasurer position. Steve accepts the nomination, seconded by Jose Prewitt, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed.

Vicki Coup made a motion to amend the previously approved slate to include the name of Steve Houck as a nominee for the position of Treasurer, seconded by Roger Tobias, no discussion all in favor, none opposed.

Motions Under New Business

Recognitions: Terry Prewitt made a motion to recognize Greg Sassaman in the form of a certificate of appreciation (to be included in frame) to thank him for his years of service as treasurer for PSARC, seconded by Nelson Haas, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed. (Note: Jim Howley has offered to take care of having the certificates done for both Greg Sassaman and Ken Boyles.)

New Council Members: A motion was made by Irv Lichtenstein to accept two new member teams, Elkland SAR Association, St. Mary's, PA and Northeast Search and Tactical Inc., Oley, PA, seconded by Roger Tobias, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed. Reinstatement of Former Council Members: A motion was made by Irv Lichtenstein to reinstate the units paying dues after May 30 (as listed in attachment #4), seconded by Roger Tobias, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed.

Changing Council Resource Forms: Kevin Sheirer, East Penn Mountaineers, made a suggestion that the resource forms be changed in some way to show names and proof of training, level of certification, and by whom the certification was issued. He reported they have had experiences where SAR teams did not have the level of experience or quantity of members as stated on their SAR resource form.

Carol Prosseda made a motion that the PSARC resource forms be amended to include team resources, seconded by Bryce Boyer. Much discussion followed:

Peter McCabe: Do we want to have an itemized roster by name for all the team members and their level of training?

Irv Lichtenstein: the motion on the floor violates PA statute, you can not have training personnel records released to a third party

Vicki Coup: I think what we are asking for is a list of team break down such as 11 people certified as FTL, etc. not necessarily to list names.

Kim Carr (White Deer SAR): I would like to make a motion that the PSARC forms be amended so that the SAR council can police the accuracy of the information on resource forms, and have a signature. (Note: Motion not accepted, there already was a motion on the floor.)

Jim Howley: Who would police this? We are not a police organization.

Martha Geary: My ambulance company requests copies of training records which are kept in a locked cabinet in the fire department. Can my search team do that too if the search team keeps the hard copy and sends a summary to the council without a name? When a team requests to join PSARC, they send a cover letter, a copy of constitution/By-Laws, operating documents, and a $25.00 check. This information is currently held by Keith Conover, our former secretary.

Peter McCabe: It does not contain the names of people or their training.

Jim Howley: That only covers teams that belong to PSARC, not all teams which are requested for searches are PSARC members.

Irv Lichtenstein: This is like protecting your army 201 file.

Steve Houck: This type of information is routinely shared among the eight teams of the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference (ASRC) so at any time an ASRC unit can provide information on other teams or people. Like a phone book. If you consistently have problems with the quality and/or quantity of people you get from any team, don't call them. If you hide behind the law you are not helping yourself or your team or the people you are looking for.

The first motion did not carry. A second motion was made including part of Kim Carr's suggestion. The second motion read: The PSARC resource forms should be amended to show team resources and that the form should include a statement by the signature line that states that "I understand and attest that the information provided is true and correct, and may be audited by the SAR Council should any question arise." Seconded by Bryce Boyer, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed. Training Standards: Peter McCabe suggested it was appropriate to suggest that thirty days from now, or with the next SAR Net mailing that the Council activate the PSARC Training Standards. Carol Prosseda made a motion to activate the standards in 30 days with the mailing of the next newsletter, seconded by Rose Keller with significant discussion following:

Martha Geary: Can we send this out with the next SAR Net to be fair to the teams which aren't here at the meeting.

Irv Lichtenstein: Question on the motion? Under the By-Laws, this should be considered a major decision, and suggest that it be included with the ballot, especially in light of the fact that we have no training, no evaluation plan in effect at this time, no evaluators and no schedule. If we turn voluntary standards into mandatory standards that we should have a program in place to do so. We also should check with our insurance to advise them that we plan to start certifying people. The phrase "activate the standards" changes them from voluntary to mandatory. If teams want to comply with the standards, we don't have to pass this motion. On the back of the resource form you can fill in which standards you comply to.

Carol Prosseda: We can't make the standards mandatory until we have some type of testing, evaluations in place. I will make an offer to table the motion until it can be reviewed by a committee to be worded to suit everyone in a manner that is proper and legal. Seconded by Rose Keller, no further discussion, all in favor, none opposed, motion is tabled.

Roy Keiser suggested that the committee consist of Irv, Carol and Andy Appel. Peter McCabe will appoint a committee to review this motion.

Other Administrative Actions

Dues Statement:  A suggestion was made to put the dollar amount of the dues on the late due information when it is sent to the teams.               (Note: This is already routinely done.)

Peter McCabe announced he will be appointing Jay Cooke, GPSR and Jose Prewitt, CAP to join the operations committee efforts.


Roy Keiser made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 21:33 hours, seconded by everyone, no discussion, all in favor, none opposed.

Respectfully submitted, Roseann L. Keller Secretary