From time to time, BSAR members may be involved in incidents that put a strain on their normal ability to cope. The Peer Support Program has been established to assist searchers who may be affected by a particular event. The trained Peer Supporters also have a sound understanding of the operations of BSAR.
A Peer Supporter provides support to searchers, either as groups or individuals, following an event that may be traumatic or significant to that individual or group. This support may occur immediately after the event or within a few days. The process allows sharing of emotions in strict confidentiality. Peer Supporters are able to refer members to professional counselling if required via the Peer Support Coordinators.
A PLO will contact a Peer Support Team Leader after the initial call-out of searchers has been completed. The PS Team Leader then has the responsibility to assemble and activate a Peer Support team as required. This happens in the same way as a search call-out to find out who is available. However, any trained Peer Supporters who have participated in the search are ineligible to act as part of the Peer Support team for that search. The PLO keeps the PS Team Leader appraised of the situation during the search to enable the PS Team Leader to pro¬vide a meaningful briefing to the Peer Support team assisting the search.
Peer Support Coordination
A formal structure is in place to ensure that a number of Peer Support personnel are available to contact members after a search.
Peer Supporters are in contact with the nominated Peer Support Team Leader for a search who in turn liaise with a Peer Support Coordinator. This provides a mechanism for general issues to be brought to the BSAR Committee through the Peer Support Coordinator.