Briefers will be needed throughout the day as search teams form
and depart. More briefers are needed in the morning when most search
teams are formed.
Briefers should remember to be positive, to smile and to thank
the volunteers. They should deliver information about the situation
in a way that will inform the searchers, yet maintain the integrity
of the investigation. The searcher's job is to find as much information
as possible without disclosing any key elements that may be important.
They should be asked to use discretion about their conversations,
and to use their judgment about any information they find or reveal.
Two forms are used in Briefing: the Briefing Form (See Figure:
Briefing Form) and the Search Team Roster Form (See Figure:
Search Team Roster Form). Both forms should
be completed as a search team is briefed.
The briefing room should be closed, away from the public and
media. It should be equipped with:
- Briefing forms.
- Search Team Roster forms.
- Large wall map of search operations area.
- search sector maps (2 for each sector)
- evidence marking tape
- individual first aid kits
- Polaroid camera and film
Briefing the Search Team
After the search team is assembled there are several tasks that
need to be done at the Recovery Center:
- Complete the briefing form (See Figure:
Briefing Form). Be sure that all searchers
have the gold copy of their Volunteer Registration Agreement.
- Select group leader - the leader may be one that volunteers for
the job, has law enforcement or military training and experience
or be more familiar with the area to be searched. The group leader's
- Accounting for all team members upon departure and return.
- Gather search team supplies and return them to the Recovery Center.
- Communications with the Recovery Center.
- Speaking for the group during debriefing.
- Return maps, notes, team roster, and team photograph to debriefers.
- Assign additional roles:
- Navigator to and from the search area.
- Mapreader during the search.
- Note-taker during the search.
- Take a group Polaroid photograph and give to the team leader
so that the leader can easily identify and account for his group.
- Fill in search team roster, make a copy for team leader, retain
- Issue search sector map to team leader, retain a copy.
- Inform the search team of the following:
- Search synopsis - include a description and photograph of the
missing child, the last known clothing, jewelry, identifying marks,
any released information about suspects, vehicles, or witnesses.
- Check in / check out times and expected duration of the search.
- Where to report for debriefing.
- Directions to the search site.
- Chain of command at the Recovery Center / contact person and
- How and when to call the Recovery Center with "hot" evidence.
- How to record and flag evidence (Section
on Preservation of Evidence).
- Do not touch, lift, or move the evidence in any way!
- Notification of available support: first aid, portable restrooms,
food and water, transportation.
- If the missing child is in an urban environment the dynamics
of the search will concentrate more on door-to-door canvassing. Seek
permission from managers of apartments and commercial businesses.
These searches will be more dependent on sightings and personal observations.
Searchers should note the presence of security cameras and ask their
owners not to erase tapes. Cameras should be reported to debriefing.
- Notification of legal rights to access private property. Seek
- Description of Search methods. For the purpose of a civilian
volunteer effort, the search methods will be limited to sweep searches,
neighborhood searches, and door to door canvassing with flyer distribution.
A sweep search in brushy areas is in a line with searchers spaced
6 feet apart. In extremely brushy areas concentrate the search to
routes of easy access and any areas obviously disturbed. In open
areas the spacing can be expanded to no more than 30 feet (Section
on Search Patterns).
- Search 50 yards on either side of all throughfares in targeted
areas, including bridges, culverts, abandoned buildings, and automobiles.
- Weather Conditions.
- Issue supplies to the team as they leave. See Team Checklist
- Post team information to the Search Status Board (Section
on Search Status Board).
- Forward following items to the debriefing team
- Search Team Roster
- Search Sector Map
- Briefing Form