Alaska Search and Rescue Association | SAR Missions
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Alaska SAR Missions

The quotes on this page are from the 2009 Alaska State Troopers Annual Report.


All reports online can be found at:


“On any given day in Alaska, someone will go missing. In Alaska over the last five years, a person or group was reported missing or overdue on average of once every 12 hours. Whether it is an overdue hiker familiar with the terrain or a first time visitor to Alaska unprepared for the capricious weather, emergency personnel in Alaska are on constant alert for search and rescues.”

“It is larger than the next three largest states – Texas, California and Montana – combined. Only seven of the 16 existing boroughs and municipalities have government run emergency services. These 16 boroughs and municipalities cover approximately 38 percent of the land mass. The rest is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety and a dedicated volunteer search and rescue community.”

“With so many searches across such a great distance, AST works very closely in cooperation with military, federal and local agencies. Without the mutual aid agreements with these agencies and the very essential resource of organized volunteer search associations, this task would be daunting, if not impossible. The significance of volunteers and other agencies for troopers to perform search and rescues is extremely important.”


“With a commissioned count of less than 400 troopers, AST depends heavily upon the professional volunteer search and rescue organizations, as well as the military and local emergency service agencies. There are roughly 48 volunteer organizations statewide. These volunteers drop what they are doing to answer the call for help that often interrupts regular day jobs and family life.”

“The amount of time volunteers contribute is easily doubled by adding training for the technical skills it takes to ensure search and rescues are conducted in a safe and successful manner, partially because this skill set needs up keeping.”


“Most search managers will always choose trained searchers over untrained volunteers. A manager can do more with one trained searcher than with 10 untrained volunteers. They will also do the job quicker, safer and more reliably than the untrained ground searchers. It is very important to keep a searcher from becoming a casualty.”