Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do we contact you?
Call 1-800-293-7248 and leave a voice message. Please include the name of the department, call back numbers and the missing person situation.
Q: What information should we provide you when we call?
Print the ‘Agency Information Checklist’ and provide as much information on the list as possible.
Q: How soon will you arrive on scene?
That depends on the location. Typically, in the DFW metro area, we will have personnel on scene within one hour. Travel time will be greater for searches out of the metro area.
Q: Is there a charge for this service?
Q: How long have you been in existence?
Q: How many members do you have?
It varies, but we usually have around 40 members and about 30 K-9′s.
Q: How is the team organized?
We operate our team like a business, managed by a President and Vice President. Decisions are made by the team management with input from the members. We have a Board of Directors who are not members of the organization but are community leaders who assist us with long-term goals, marketing and give guidance on best business practices.
Q: I don’t live in the DFW area. How can I find out about search teams in my area?
The best place to start is the National Association for Search and Rescue web page, www.nasar.org. There is a listing of search teams across the nation.
Q: Where do you search?
Our primary service area is North Central Texas. However, we have responded to searches all across Texas and Southern Oklahoma.
Q: What types of searches do you do?
Most of the calls we respond to are rural and urban walk-aways. Our next largest search type is cadaver, both water and land. We also respond to child abduction, evidence, light disaster and wilderness searches.
Q: How often are you called?
In 2009 we averaged approx (8) calls per month, but averages can be misleading. Some months the call load may be light and others may see several calls per week. We have had as many as (7) in ten days before.
Q: How often do you find someone?
When a find is made on a search our team is responsible for the find 25% of the time. The balance of the finds are made by the emergency agency or the general public and often those finds are as a result of assistance provided by Search One.
Q: How often do you train?
We schedule a four-hour training each week and one business meeting per month. We also have optional trainings during the week for those who wish to train more often.
Q: Where do you train?
Since our members are scattered around the DFW metro area, we try and train in a variety of locations around the metroplex.
Q: Is there a minimum attendance requirement?
Yes. We require Mission Ready members to attend a minimum of 50% of the scheduled trainings and meetings and recruits in training are required to attend 70% of those events.
Q: Do you have a structured training program?
Yes. All new members enter into the Flanker Training Program which teaches the basic skills needed to be a proficient searcher. Once a member completes the Flanker Program, they can begin training a K-9 or, after field experience, train to become a search manager.
Q: What do you use for training material?
We have written three training manuals for our organization: the Flanker Manual, which is our entry level position for all new members, the K-9 Manual, which guides handlers through the K-9 training process, and the Base Manual, which teaches search management operations. In addition to our own manuals, we also incorporate several outside books related to search and rescue.
Q: I have a K-9 that I would like to train in Search and Rescue. How can I find out if he could be a SAR K-9?
We perform a working screening on all K-9 applicants for team members only. The screening will give you a good idea as to whether or not your K-9 has the ‘right stuff’ to do the job. We typically do not accept a K-9 more than two years old into the program unless they have prior search training.
Q: What do I need to do to join Search One?
The most important things that you will need to become a member of Search One is TIME and DEDICATION! You will spend approximately 25 hrs. per month for nearly 8 months, going through our Flanker Training Program. That’s over and above your family and job time. There are classes each month (sometimes 2) and training 4 times per month. This is a very time consuming avocation. You and your family should understand and accept that.
Q: How do I join?
To become a member of Search One, we ask that potential applicants attend at least two of our training sessions (without a K-9). You can then request an application. The application packet must be completely filled out. It includes a resume, references and an essay. The application will be reviewed and the applicant will be interviewed by team management. Once the interviews are complete, if accepted the applicant becomes a probationary member and enters the Flanker Training Program.
To attend a team training, email Pat Thorpe by clicking here or call him at 972.989.3629.
Q: Why does it take so long to get through the Flanker Training Program?
There are many things for you to learn. Our program includes learning the “how to and whys” of map & compass, clue consciousness, the Incident Command System, SORT’s communications procedures, and basic K-9 methodology. You will need to learn how to use all these tools and practice them in the field. The field team exercises are the most important aspects of training. This is a stressful business (a person’s life may depend on us!) and like all teams working under stress, everyone must know their job and have confidence in their fellow team members. It takes time to develop that coordination and confidence.
Q: I’m not sure I can take the time from work and other commitments. Should I try anyway?
You don’t want to spend the required time and emotional energy on becoming a Mission Ready Flanker to not be able to participate on searches. Obviously, there are circumstances that won’t allow all of our members to go on all of our searches. For instance we have law enforcement officers on the team and they can’t just pick up and leave their patrol duties. However, since the team has a very high call rate you should be prepared to attend multiple searches per month.
Q: Do I need to have any special background to become a member of SORT?
Our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds. If you are comfortable outdoors; if you are physically fit enough for an occasional five to ten mile hike; if you are capable of performing specific tasks under stressful conditions (emotional, as well as physical) and want to commit to being a part of a highly skilled professional TEAM, then there’s no problem. You will be required to take and maintain a CPR and Basic First Aid certification in addition to the team training but there are no prerequisites.
Q: What will it cost to be a member of SORT?
Membership dues are $10.00 a month. Uniforms, training materials, etc. will cost about $250 – 500 initially. If you plan to be a dog handler eventually your expenses will be significantly higher.
Q: I have a K-9 or I am thinking about getting a K-9 for SAR work. What do I do?
All K-9’s go through a screening process to determine their potential for SAR work. This screening as well as the entire K-9 training process is published in SORT’s K-9 Operations Manual. Check with the K-9 Training Director if you want us to evaluate your K-9. However, be advised that you will not be allowed to work your K-9 at team training, unless otherwise notified, until you have completed your Flanker Training Program and become Mission Ready.