Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council
Meeting Notes

by Keith Conover, M.D., FACEP, acting Secretary

Board of Directors Meeting

Board of Directors meeting opened at 10:00 by President John Miller.

No quorum of BOD members, so started with informal discussion. 

Keith Conover [AMRG] suggested that we make it an informal policy that the PSARC Regional Representatives contact the responsible agency for follow-up after any search where member teams express concern about the operation.  An email about this from Heather Houlahan [AMRG], in regards to a recent search, is attached [Attachment #1].  The consensus was that there needs to be no vote on this, but that it will be entered in the minutes and will become an expectation for the duties of all PSARC Regional Representatives. 

The 1999 SAREX will be held 14-16 May 1999, at the same place as last year (Pinch Pond Campground, Lancaster Co.).

Open BOD positions:  Jay Cooke [GPS&R, at large] has verbally resigned, and Roy Keiser (STRIKE, Central Region Rep.) has resigned as of this BOD meeting.

Membership:  list of teams who have paid 1998 dues given out [Attachment #2].

The procedure for handling dues has been streamlined so that checks get deposited more quickly.

We discussed the Practical Search Operations course that Search and Rescue Training Associates recently put on for PSARC at PEMA Headquarters.  Comments were uniformly and extremely positive, and there was interest in getting the course put on here on a regular basis, and developing local instructors.  SARTA instructors came up from Virginia for this first course, and PSARC plus the students covered their costs, for a total cost of roughly $500 for the two weekends.  We'll see if we can schedule another course.

Testing:  by next year’s SAREX, DCNR hopes to start testing for Field Team Leader as well as Field Team Member that they started testing at this past SAREX.  Individual PSARC teams may arrange to do internal testing for FTM, contact Ken Boyles or Mike Norris of DCNR for details.

State SAR training:  The State Fire Academy doesn’t have funding for adjunct courses such as SAR any more, and thus will be discontinuing the Grid I and Grid II and MSO and Search Responder classes there.  DCNR will therefore be setting up the SAR courses outside the Fire Academy, either through Delaware County Community College or some other Community College.  Will be trying to develop a pool of instructors; instructor candidates will have to have taken the DCNR courses, will have to have instructor training in a related discipline (e.g., NASAR, ERI, AHA, Red Cross).  DCNR Task Force meeting scheduled for September to discuss this.  Also thinking about a basic survival course, too.  There are also ice rescue courses (one of the later phases of the water rescue courses, available through Pennsylvania Fish Commission), but these are still available.

Web site:  We now have “” and it’s paid for the next two years.  Joe Thrash is working on a good place to host it.  Keith will put up something temporary in the next couple of weeks.  We will also be setting up an Internet mailing list, and information on how to subscribe will be posted on the Web site.

We are interested in revising the FTL and FTM and other individual standards at some point.  Keith Conover [AMRG] has done some research on how to write standards and educational objectives and has developed a 30-45 minute presentation on this; he will be presenting this after the meeting today, and it may also be scheduled for some meeting at some time in the future.

Membership Meeting

Quorum established; see signin (attachment #3).

Called to order by President John Miller at 10:45 AM.

Secretary’s Report

--Peter McCabe, Secretary (not present so report by President instead)

The last General Membership was at the SAREX; minutes had been mailed.

Moved and seconded that the minutes be accepted as mailed to all member teams.  Passed unanimously, without discussion.  Note that updated officer contact information was distributed with the last SAR NET.

Treasurer’s Report

--Carole Manuel, Treasurer

See Attachments #4 (Treasurer’s Report) and #2 (Member Teams who have Paid 1998 dues as of this meeting).  A new checking account has been established.

Training and Education Committee

--Ron Sadd, Training and Education Chairman [via President]

Dates for the next SAREX May 14-16 May, 1999.  It will again be a Friday-Saturday event.  WEST did take a financial loss to run the SAREX this year.  They also lost money the first year, but made it up the second year.  Of interest, for these dates in 1999, all the campground cabins have already been reserved and paid for by SAR teams.

Membership Committee

--Don Scelza, Membership Chairman

Evergreen submitted the names of two new delegates, but they have unlisted numbers; Don notes that changes of delegates must be submitted on team letterhead and must have contact information [Evergreen, are you listening?].

Forms Committee

--Keith Conover, M.D., FACEP, Forms Committee Chair: see report [attachment #5]

The Forms Committee has met twice, once at the last SAREX and once at Col. Denning State Park in July.  The next meeting is set for Sunday October 18th at Col. Denning State Park, near Harrisburg, from 1000-1700 hours.  The progress thus far is shown in the attached report.  Of note, there will be a single set of joint forms for both PSARC and DCNR.  Progress is slow, but the process is working well.  The Forms Committee hopes to have a new set of forms available for review and final approval in six months.

Old Business

Mike Norris [DCNR]:  question about whether the MRC (Mission Resource Coordinator) and EPLO (Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer) setup with Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency – the BOD decided to eliminate Regional Coordinators as a separate position, and made the BOD member from each region also the Regional Representative.  John says he’s been told by someone at PEMA that the program is dead, but PEMA is still apparently activating the system.  John is still trying to find the right person at PEMA to find out what their status is re: the EPLO/MRC system.

Need to update the PSARC Alerting information at 1-800-MED-STAT [STATCOM].  John Miller will do this.

New Business


Adjourned at 11:15 AM, with educational programs to follow.

Educational Program:

Kevin Delsite [STRIKE] provided a demonstration of a networked personnel and task management program he is developing for SAR.  Will be available from a computer consulting company for which he works at their cost, but due to the underlying network software, will probably cost about $1000 or more for a complete setup license for several networked laptops.  Will have many good feature such as redundancy -- even if a tree falls on one of the laptops, the data is still all there and the system still keeps functioning.

Keith Conover [AMRG] provided a brief presentation about how to develop educational objectives and performance standards, based on his review of the educational literature.  This is the same presentation he gave last month at a colloquium at the 1998 annual meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society. At the request of those present, a printout of the presentation is being attached to the minutes as a reference[Attachment #6].