Peninsula CERT Light Search & Rescue Procedures

Community Emergency Response Team

CERT Light Search and Rescue Procedures

Experienced search and rescue personnel have found the search procedures listed below to be effective.

  1. Begin the search by shouting something like, “If anyone can hear my voice, come here.” If any victims respond, give them further directions such as “Stay here” or “Wait outside” (depending on the condition of the building). Be sure to ask victims for any information they may have about building damage or about others trapped in the building.
  2. Be Systematic. Use a systematic search pattern to ensure that all areas of the building are covered. For example:
    Bottom-Up-Top-Down Searching from the bottom of the building up and/or down is well suited to multi-story buildings. Right Wall/Left Wall. Moving systematically from one side to the other is well suited to single -floor structures and avoids repetition. The wall is the rescuer’s lifeline. If you or your partner become disoriented, reverse your steps, staying close to the wall until you get back to the doorway. Throughout your search, maintain voice contact with your partner so you do not get separated. Using a CB radio and a channel provided by the Command Post, also maintain communication with a Search & Rescue buddy outside the building.
  3. Listen Carefully. Stop frequently and just listen……..for tapping sounds, movement, or voices.
  4. Triangulate. Triangulation enables rescuers so view a single location from several perspectives. Three rescuers, guided by victim’s sounds, for a triangle around a designated area and direct flashlights into the area. The light shining from different directions will eliminate shadows that could otherwise hide victims.
  5. Use The Buddy System. Working together, two rescuers can search a structure more effectively and provide an additional measure of safety to each other. Buddies should also use a web belt to connect one another, especially in dark or smoke filled areas.
  6. Mark Searched Areas. Marking searched areas prevents duplication efforts and identifies where rescuers are and have been. Make a single diagonal slash on or next to the door just before entering. Make an opposite slash, (creating an “X”), when all occupants have been removed and the search of that area is finished, the four quadrants of the “X” can be used to indicate the initials of the searcher (left quadrant), the time/date of the search, (top quadrant), personal hazards, (right quadrant), and the number of victims still inside, (bottom quadrant). Use a zero if no victims are found. Put a box around the “X” if it is not safe to conduct search and rescue efforts in the room or building.

Following these steps will avoid duplication of effort and will help rescue operations. Use lumber crayon to mark your information.


Search Completed Dangerous, do not enter