SCSARDA's primary mission is to locate lost and missing persons, but we also help educate the community on ways to avoid getting lost and what to do if someone is lost. Here are some helpful tips:
What to do if You become Lost
Tips for Parents and Children
What to do if Someone is Missing
Presentations and Demonstrations
South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association team members and their dogs regularly attend local community events including the annual Spartanburg Community Emergency Preparedness Day and Back to School Fair at the Update Family Resource Center.
SCSARDA also gives presentations to schools, youth groups, and community organizations. We will provide age- appropriate information on how to avoid getting lost and what to do if you become lost and demonstrate how our search dogs find people.
Maria Claxton at (864) 316-9292 or
Mitch Henderson at (864) 437-7237
SCSARDA members are all dedicated volunteers. We try to accommodate most requests, but our availability is limited. Scheduling is best 1-2 months in advance. There is no charge for presentations, but donations are appreciated.
Helpful Search and Rescue Tips
How to avoid getting lost...
Always let someone know your intended destination and expected time of return. Instruct them to call the authorities if you do not return.
Bring along water, high-energy food, a whistle, flashlight, knife, matches, first-aid kit, and mirror.
Carry a map and compass with you and know how to use them.
Wear bright colors and bring extra clothing with you (extra layers can provide warmth and protection from the sun).
Never hike alone and always keep to the trails.
What to do if you become lost...
STOP! Find a safe area where you are visible to searchers. Staying in one place makes it much easier to find you.
Before it becomes dark, find or make a temporary shelter.
Conserve water, food, and energy.
Make noise so you can be found. Use a whistle if you have one to alert searchers. Remember anything repeated 3x is internationally known as a distress signal!
Use a mirror or shiny surface catching the sunlight to alert aircraft.
Leave evidence if you must travel: pieces of cloth, notes, or drag a stick on the ground.
In case of a lightning storm remove metal possessions and crouch down in a ditch. Don't stay under a tree.
Tips for Parents and Children...
Teach your children not to walk alone in the woods and to stay on marked trails when they are hiking.
Let your children know that they won't be punished for getting lost. Children often hide from searchers because they are scared their parents will be angry.
Tell children the best thing they can do if they become lost is to stay put and to remember that hundreds of people will be looking for them.
Let your children know that if they become lost and someone finds them, this is one time when it is OK to talk to a stranger.
Make a tracing of your child's foot print and shoe prints. If they become lost, these can help searchers identify your child's prints among others.
Before you go for a hike or enter a crowed location like a mall or an amusement park, use your cell phone camera to take a picture of your child, including their shoes. If you do become separated, searchers can use the picture to help locate your child.
What to do if someone is missing...
If you know or suspect someone is lost, call for help immediately.
Don't worry about calling too soon. It is better to have help on the way if it is needed. If you find the person after calling for help, searchers will only be glad to know the person is found.
Tell the authorities everything you know, including where the person was last seen, their travel plans, what he/she was wearing, medical information, etc.
Try to keep vehicles away from the place the person was last seen. Vehicle fumes can hinder a search dog's ability to find a person's trail.
Be prepared to provide dog teams with a scent article, that is, an article of clothing that only the missing person has touched. Make sure no one else touches the clothing until the dog team has a chance to collect the item.
Note: As a precautionary measure, families, individuals, or nursing home personnel can freeze scent articles. Scent articles must be picked up using a long object (like tongs) and placed in a clean zip lock bag (one item per bag) and frozen.