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Search and rescue

Search and Rescue (acronym SAR) is an operation mounted by emergency services to find someone believed to be in distress, lost, sick or injured either in a remote or difficult to access area, such as mountains or forest, or at sea, whether close to shore or not. The term can also be applied in urban situations when young children or senile people wander away from their homes and cannot be found.

Urban Search and Rescue operations are Search and Rescue operations conducted for people buried as a result of a building collapse, as might happen after an earthquake.

The recovery of the body of a deceased person in similar situations is also considered an aspect of Search and Rescue, though the actual recsue phase of the operation is often known as recovery rather than rescue.

Search and Rescue operations have several distinct phases or parts.

In the initial phase of the operation, steps are taken to ascertain a likely location of the person being searched for, so that a search area can be established if they are in fact in need of rescue.

In the Search phase, a search is mounted.

In the Rescue phase, aid is rendered to the person where they are found, sufficient to allow them to be safely transported to a place where more intensive aid can be provided.

Afterwards, there is often a debriefing phase where the operation is analysed to determine what could have been done better.

A substantial body of mathematical theory called search theory, some initially developed for anti-submarine warefare, has been developed and can be to help choose the search patterns for maritime search operations.

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