4.8 Search Team Communications
Communications is an important aspect of the search effort. A
communication network needs be established within a few hours of
the startup of the organized search.
The communications link between the Recovery Center and the search
teams is critical. Cellular telephones and/or two-way radios are
two proven systems. The cellular phones are preferred for their distance,
mobility, security and tractability.
The cellular telephones can be obtained (often donated) from
local cellular providers.
Two-way radios can be obtained (often donated) from local sources.
Search Team Communications Desk
- Pick a location near the Briefing and Debriefing areas for the
- Keep a current Recovery Center phone directory at the Communications
- Communications personnel should be able to work for the duration
of the search. Several people could switch-off running communications.
- The communications desk handles sensitive information - background
checks (seek advice and cooperation from local law enforcement) should
be run on all Communications volunteers.
- Man the Communications Desk the beginning of each day's search
activity to the return of the final search team of the day.
- The person(s) working at the communications desk should be able
to rapidly relay information to and from the search teams.
- Runners may be helpful to transfer important information to other
groups at the Recovery Center or to law enforcement.
Communication equipment should be checked-out and checked-in
by the individual in charge of communications.
- Each device should be clearly labeled on the front with a large
telephone or unit number. Associated batteries and charge bases should
carry the same number.
- Log all equipment out with a name, team number, search location,
and device number.
- Keep a group of phones or radios charged and available.
- If a team leader chooses to use his own phone, record the name
- Log all equipment in by name and device number and place on charge.
- Equipment logs and communication records for each day should
be turned into the Historian.
The shutdown for the search communications involves the gathering
and documentation of all the equipment. All components (phone, case,
radio, chargers and batteries) should be grouped by device number
and returned to the original source.