German Shepherds Forum banner


2903 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  pupresq
I’m thinking about taking Introduction to Search and Rescue (ISAR) through NASAR. I’m not a member of a team. I’ve volunteered to hide a few times but I’m afraid to make the commitment. Would that be a good/fun course to take to get a good intensive feel for what it takes and what I need to learn? Even if I never join a team I think it would be fun. Has anyone ever taken this course?
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
I think ISAR would be a good introduction - never took it - took FUNSAR years ago which was a two weekend course with a night search and "survival" camp-out at the end. The course is only as good as the instructor you get.

I think FUNSAR would give you a better feel but ISAR won't hurt. I think ISAR is all classroom and FUNSAR is more hands-on.
I am taking the funsar course starting this weekend. I will let you know if it is fun!! I always planned on the funsar course because if you complete and pass, you are a SARTECH II as opposed to the III. I figure, if I am going to do the hours and pay the money, I may as well have a higher 'ranking'.

Of course, ISAR is only 16 hrs and I assume cheaper than the 48hr funsar course! The 2 weekends for the funsar course also include Fri evening--so it is a big chunk of time.
You are fortunate to be able to take the SAR II Certification test at the end of the FUNSAR weekend. That is not typical protocol, but I see they are doing it at the class in NJ

Normally you have to wait for the test to become available and take it then, sometimes months later.

You do not get SAR II for completing and passing FUNSAR. You get SAR III for completion of FUNSAR and passing the written exam. You get SAR II for passing the written and practical examination.

FUNSAR provides you with the skillset to pass the SAR II practical examinations. Normally, those take a full day or two days in themselves to complete.

So you have everything for your pack? That is a biggie $$$.

Here's your hints.

Route Search -- try to get yourself into the position to be the "guide" the further you are away from the guide the more the errors of the guide compound and you may fail because the guide got off course. I failed first time as an inner person because my guide who also failed got way off course, got 80% POD 2nd time as guide.

Area Search -- Stand at point shoot bearing walk to it and sink your tracking stick in the ground. Work a grid back to your starting point then grid back to your walking stick and repeat until you are done. Works like a charm - they may not teach that in class - got 90% POD.

Land Nav -- Make sure you get a tally step in the terrain you will be testing. make sure you are skilled at navigating around obstacles and not losing your distance - be prepared for some doozies .

You do have this, correct? It is on the NASAR site - make sure it is current ( I had to buy mine back in 1999 and it was not cheap),_II_02,_2003.pdf

(I took the test the year they added carabiners and prusiks and zip ties and several of use went scrambling to get the stuff - most of my SAR II pack is in a box in the truck - never comes out on a search
See less See more
Quote: You do not get SAR II for completing and passing FUNSAR. You get SAR III for completion of FUNSAR and passing the written exam. You get SAR II for passing the written and practical examination.
Yeah, that's what I meant--just didnt use enough words to clarify
I dont see the point of paying for the course, taking the time for the course and not taking the practical. I am glad I can get it out of the way. I hope I pass.....

Thanks a lot for the hints--I will take them to heart !!!
See less See more
I think if you read the certification requirements before you go and know what is expected and have everything for your pack you should be fine. They stick to the objectives

I imagine some things have changed in the class (I hear some definitions, of course GPS has been added*) since I took it.

The land nav seems to be the most difficult for most but I found it pretty easy - one of my teammates, however,took it at the Charlotte Fire Acadamy and had to navigate through a swamp and was in water for part of it.

When I took the test, my problem was only with the playing cards (route and area search) as i had zero practice beforehand, had a bad guide, and did not know the tracking stick trick. You keep finding cards if you get offcourse but they are someone else's cards and don't count

Lenny, online for free are the NIMs courses (minimum = 100,200,&700) that many states are also adopting as prerequisites for local searchers. You can take them for free at your liesure and walk into the ISAR/FUNSAR with a better foundation for incindent command system. (Just google National Incident Management System and you can dig through to find the online courses)

**when I got my SAR II, GPS was still under selective availabilty and signals were jammed by the govt so it was not so reliable and the units were not so good -- WAAS and SIRF Star chips have gone a long way in improving them.
See less See more
Thanks everyone.
I'll take a look at National Incident Management System. I was wondering if the ISAR required any prior knowledge,training or equipment. I am starting from ground zero except for some basic understanding of SAR.
ISAR (and FUNSAR) are ground zero You re good!
Hey just to add, when you take the land nav. beware of the talkers! As you are doing your pace counts and compass work its a [email protected]#%* when someone say's hey to you as they cross your path and you loose count. Also stinks when your walking stick (colapsable are best) catches on a tree limb while hanging from your pack and slings you backwards to land in the forest like a turtle!!! Seriously its a challenge but what you will learn will serve you well when you join a unit and go out on missions. I am with Nancy though my 72 hour test pack is still in my basement as we speak still packed up in the event that I do my next level k9 certification in area search. Costs a lot of money and most of the stuff you will not use on any mission. My smaller backpack and my outward hound fanny pack are used with just about every mission. Good luck and have fun.
made me laugh.

Several of us on my team took and passed the canine sartech written and pack test but our water cadaver test got cancelled by a thunderstorm ........ all this nasar political nonsense happened, and we never got to take the practical examination and now the year is past......... [so we are working on getting ready for the NAPWDA test since it is pretty comprehensive] of my teammates figured out a claxton fruitcake meets the caloric requirements of the pack. it would last forever in your basement. we figured you could use it to block car wheels, hammer in tent posts, etc etc
Some of the teams I know had calculated out the calories in bagged peanut butter and vienna sausages. haha, its the danged water that is so heavy!!! and not to mention the weight shift if it moves....brings whole new meaning to water weight. Oh and anything that's marked "recommended but optional" is probably heavy and awkward to carry so forget it, like bed rolls....thats a big joke. News flash you never get to go to bed on a mission!! Boy I could go on and on. And by the way I hope all know that the FUN in funsar does not mean fun unless you count how good it feels to soak your muscles after working all day. It should stand for funny which is what you look on your back like a turtle or how you feel when you empty out your back with your little pen knife and the guy next to you pulls out his that looks like it could slaughter all the wild hogs in the next 3 counties. (he was a retired army ranger) And of course the fun could be that we all took our sartech II in Florida in May. Not so much fun but an idiot fest. This time of year here would be much better. And still we continue to turn out in all weathers to do whatever it takes and love every minute of it......we sar people are weird!
See less See more
Florida, woods, overnight, May ......... yeah I would say that is crazy and I can say that because I grew up in Central Florida -at least Jr High + High School.

I did mine in Wilson NC in August. bugs and briars and snakes.

It should be a breeze for Jennifer, she has alreay "paid her dues" in training.
LOL, I am 'smart' enough to do this in January in NJ.....if I am really lucky it wont be too cold, but all I really ask for is no rain. I did a two week outdoor survival course in 2006, so this shouldnt be too bad.

Class work looks to be about done (thank goodness because we had one guy who argued with the instructor about how his unit 'doesnt do it that way'). There are only 4 of us in the class (apparently me whining to the instructor before the class about how the classes keep getting canceled made him decide to run the class with so few people!). I am hoping that makes the practical test go easier.
Wow, you should get a lot of one on one. The night search should be..........interesting.............. to say the least.

I love it when people argue instead of just try to take it in. Usually it is the people who have the least experience who know the most
See less See more
Originally Posted By: k9sarnekoOh and anything that's marked "recommended but optional" is probably heavy and awkward to carry so forget it, like bed rolls....thats a big joke. News flash you never get to go to bed on a mission!!
I always carry a bivy sack and pad and and have had to sleep in it on two missions in the past year. I sometimes carry a sleeping bag as well, depending on the time of year and type of mission. It would be bad form for rescuers to be unprepared for their own survival. Also remember the reason you are out there--the equipment you carry may be needed to keep a victim alive when you arrive.

Originally Posted By: k9sarnekoAnd still we continue to turn out in all weathers to do whatever it takes and love every minute of it......we sar people are weird!
You got that right. But if one of my loved ones was lost out there somewhere, I would hope that whoever is assigned to the search was weird in that way. You have license for your obsession.

I think a lot of what you carry depends on the terrain and location.

A lot of what we do is not really wilderness - maybe a few thousand acre state park. We are also in the South. For that the very basic pack and a plastic sheet will do.
I agree Nancy, location is what makes the difference. Living in Fl its usually not all that cold, and we are not usually far enough away from everything to have to attempt to get somewhere inside for a few hours of much needed sleep, even if its in the command bus. That being said it has been darn cold down here for the last few days and today wet and miserable. Have been on the water for a mission and nothing you had kept you warm there.
I did mine in early spring in Maryland. Cold and wet but minimal bugs and other things that make you itch. I liked the area search because I got to use all my wildlifer skills - looking for nests and looking for cards, not that different! I almost blew my land nav though when I got off course going around a bunch of boulders.

One thing I noticed with other teams is that many of them failed the knots practical. They either got rattled and messed up or just didn't know how to do them at all. We had a great lady on our team who made sure we were all drilled beforehand so everyone from our team passed no problem.

Seemed like a lot of the things people failed were no-brainers but they just hadn't reviewed the requirements. Which kinda seemed like a waste of money to me.
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.