Mississippi Adopts Special Search and Rescue Program

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Meridian, Miss Search and rescue is a major part of emergency management, according to retired Alaska state trooper, Paul Burke, who is now an instructor for the National Association for Search and Rescue.

Some local first responders have been receiving specialized training at the police training facility in Meridian the past few weeks.

Burke is teaching a class on locating missing persons and hopes to bring science into the equation when trying to locate missing persons. In doing so, it would allow the rescuers to apply what they've learned to any and all situations when conducting search and rescue missions.

Burke says, "The skills and training that they have apply anywhere they go, wherever they go. Their transportability of this knowledge, they can do the same thing in Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, and New York state. We don't teach skills to search in Mississippi; we teach skills for wherever they go."

By applying statistics and research to the search, they can more quickly and effectively locate missing persons.

What Mississippi is doing is very unique. It is the first in the country to adopt this curriculum, and NASAR hopes that other states will follow Mississippi’s example.

"Mississippi is the first state to not only endorse the basic fundamentals of search and rescue training curriculum, which leads to a national certification, but also managing a lost person incident course, training people to go state wide. First time that’s been done in the nation and we hope that it serves as a model for other states," said NASAR president, Dan Hourihan.

In addition to training, NASAR hopes to have these first responders become instructors for basic search and rescue operations as well.