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4.2 Search Patterns


The objective of the search is to find the missing child or evidence related to the child's disappearance.

Search methods and patterns are determined by many factors, including the following:

This section discusses the basic grid patterns for foot searches. For more details on these and other search patterns, as well as general search information, see the web site for the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR) at: See Section on Special Search Methods and Tasks for other types of searches if specialized resources are available.

Single Line Search

The Figure: Single Line Search Pattern illustrates the single line search. If manpower is available, this is the preferred pattern. This pattern is highly efficient and effective with minimal training.

Pivoting Line Search

The Figure: Pivoting Line Search Pattern illustrates the pivoting line search. This method is used when the area is wider than the width of the team. The team will pivot and sweep the adjacent area. The outside edge of each sweep should be marked.

Multiple Pass Search

The Figure: Multiple Pass Search Pattern illustrates the multiple pass search. Two passes are made at right angles to each other. The overall chances of detection are higher than with the single pass method. It is recommended when a greater degree of coverage is required, for example when searching for potential evidence.

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