Training and Certification

​Qualified, certified volunteers are the heart of Search and Rescue, especially in larger searches, because the Maine Warden Service (MWS) - the agency legally responsible for all searches in Maine's woods and inland waters - needs to know their professional volunteer searchers won't divert resources by themselves getting lost or needing medical attention.

That's where the Maine Association for Search and Rescue (MASAR) comes in. The very simplified explanation is that it's a mostly-administrative umbrella organization that provides training/certification opportunities for members of MASAR units, maintains records of it all so that the MWS doesn't have to, and dispatches searchers on requested by the MWS. MASAR currently has 15 certified units for people to choose from if they want to become involved, and Highlands SAR is one of them.

The categories below are completely separate from membership status.

NON-MISSION-READY SUPPORT STAFF: No specific training needed.

MISSION-READY SUPPORT STAFF: 

  • Intro to Incident Command System (IS-100) online FEMA course

 

GROUND SEARCHERS:

In addition to requirement above: 

Once (If Certifying as a MASAR Search Team Member)

  • Basic Search and Rescue (BASAR) online course

  • BASAR Written Exam

  • Completed STM Individual Documentation and Test Checklist (Field Skills)

At Multiple Training Exercises Each Year

  • Demonstration of skills in map & compass, GPS, radio communications, and self-extraction from the field on foot. 

Every 12 Months

  • MASAR Aerobic Fitness Evaluation

  • Average of 12 hours of ground search skills documented per year over a 3-year period.

Every 2-3 Years

  • CPR Certification (Red Cross, American Heart Association, or equivalent)

  • Basic First Aid (or higher... we have a Wilderness First Responder and several members with Wilderness First Aid certifications)

 

MOUNTED TEAMS:

In addition to all requirements above: 

Once Per Mounted Team

  • Certification as a MASAR Search Team Member (ground searcher)

  • Successful completion of Mounted Team Certification Test

Annually

  • At least 4 mounted unit training exercises

  • Average of at least 70 hours of training documented per year over a 3-year period. 

 

MOUNTED AIR SCENT TEAMS:

In addition to all requirements above: 

Once Per Mounted Air Scent Team

Annually

  • At least 8 mounted air scent unit training exercises

  • Average of at least 140 hours of training documented per year over a 3-year period .