What skills do I need for bush searches? Experience in overnight bushwalking and the ability to navigate off-track.
What skills do I need for snow searches? Most winter searches are in the snowfields, so previous snow camping experience is essential. The ability to use snowshoes or skis is highly desirable. Some members choose not to participate in snow searches.
What gear do I need? Come equipped with your own bushwalking gear to spend two nights in the bush or snow. However, most searching is undertaken as day searches returning to base to camp. Some extra equipment is required for snow conditions.
How do I pack my gear for a search? Bring all the gear you may need for the search (depending on conditions advised) in a large marked duffle bag and your pack. You will select gear for search tasks and load your pack on location. A small bag or daypack is good to have on the bus too.
Can I use my car to get to search? No. The Police provide bus transport for BSAR searchers. An exceptions to this must be authorised by the BSAR Police Liaison Officer.
What skills do I need for steep snow and ice rescues? Steep snow and ice rescues can be very hazardous. You must have mountaineering and ice climbing experience using ice axes, ropes, harness, crampons and ice belay equipment. You must also own your own ice climbing equipment. Note that there are very few steep snow and ice call-outs compared to bush searches. A relatively small number of BSAR members participate in steep snow and ice rescues.
Is there an age limit? No. You're almost never too old to join, but you must be at least 18. Our oldest members are very fit and capable 70 somethings!
How do I get to the search area? You will be picked up from a designated departure point. The Police provide bus transport to and from search locations.
What training is available? Annual training activites cover search and rescue techniques, and hone navigation skills. There’s the opportunity to meet and work with fellow BSAR members from different Clubs. Specific training on use of equipment such as GPS and radios is also provided.
What do I tell the boss? Support from your employer in advance for your two-day commitment to a search is essential. This is the same support employers provide for CFA and SES members.
Can I decline a callout? Yes, of course. Family, work or other commitments will prevent some members from responding to a callout. A callout must be declined if you are not 100% fit or your gear is not in good order at the time of the call.
Am I covered by insurance? Yes. You are covered under the Victorian Emergency Management Act 1986 while on a search or during designated Bush Search and Rescue training.
When do I get issued with BSAR safety clothing? New members get a welcome pack with a hi-vis cap and beanie when they join. After two active events (training and/or searches) members are eligible for a high-vis softshell jacket and shirt. Note that these are provided subject to funding being available and there may be a delay sending them as a bulk order must be placed.
Should I call 000 during emergency or activate my Personal Locator Beacon?