Search and rescue team members bring a wide variety of skills to the table. From emergency physicians to hunters to small engine repair experts, there’s no telling what proficiency will be the key to success when stakes are high. There’s no doubt, however, that having the right tools at your disposal on a search and rescue mission can make all the difference in tough conditions. Here are a few durable tools that search and rescue volunteers should always have in their gear.
IP68 Rated Flashlight
Many rescue calls are triggered by bad weather, and SAR teams don’t have the luxury of waiting until the rain clears or the blizzard blows through before heading out. Flashlights are a key piece of equipment in these situations. Not only do they help rescuers see each other in the field, but they also give those who made the call a visual signal of hope.
Even in the worst conditions, a flashlight with an IP68 rating will provide reliable light that is unaffected by dirt or water. SAR missions can last for days and hundreds of miles. By having a durable flashlight that you can rely on no matter what the conditions, you can head out with confidence knowing that you will see and be seen for as long as needed.
Search and rescue missions can run the gamut from urban spaces to the wildest backcountry. To be prepared for anything, a durable day pack filled with a few days’ worth of dry clothes, first aid supplies, and survival gear is a must.
To choose a day pack, first pick a pack that is waterproof, not water-resistant. Water-resistant means that an object will resist a certain amount of water penetration for a certain amount of time. On the other hand, a waterproof rating means that an object is impermeable to water entirely, regardless of time. Second, choose a day pack that is rip-resistant. Sharp and jagged objects are everywhere, and a rip not only compromises the waterproofing of your bag but could possibly render your bag useless and damage the items inside. Third, be sure that your day bag is comfortable to carry. Since rescue missions can last a long time, wearing a bag that causes discomfort can slow you down and prove distracting. By choosing a bag that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, you can be sure to focus on the task at hand.
Only by keeping themselves safe and oriented at all times can a SAR volunteer provide the service they have signed up for. A durable GPS device designed to stand up to rough conditions is a great investment for SAR volunteers who want to make sure they have the means to orient themselves in unfamiliar places. Some GPS devices have stronger antennas than others, meaning that they are better at receiving signals in more remote locations. This improved signal strength often comes with a higher price tag, so consider where your search and rescue calls are likely to send you before you buy. Besides keeping yourself informed of your location, a GPS device is a great way to chart areas that have already been searched and pin an exact location should you find the individual in need of rescue. Depending on their situation, you may need to summon a helicopter or emergency personnel, and an exact GPS location can help those services reach you quickly.
Successful SAR missions depend on teamwork, know-how, and preparation. By choosing durable tools for your search and rescue kit, you can set out on your next mission confident that you’re prepared to handle anything.