This page is aimed at Police and emergency services who wish to find out more about BSAR and the services it can offer. It is designed to help you know when BSAR can help you when an emergency happens in your area.
BSAR is a specialist remote area search and rescue squad. Under the NSW State Rescue Board it is a Land Rescue Unit, and a Specialist Rescue Unit under the auspices of the NSW State Rescue Board. This means it is not tied to a region but operates state-wide, but only offers services in remote-area search and rescue.
BSAR offers a complete response to remote area search and rescue operations. Our personnel are fit, experienced, trained and accredited in remote area search and rescue techniques and safety. They are self sufficient for up to 72 hours (and longer if necessary) so do not require catering or accommodation. They are skilled and equipped to handle the worst of the Australian weather, from heat to cold, drought to flood – and they know when the conditions are unsafe.
This makes BSAR the ideal organisation to contact for remote area search and rescue operations, such as:
Most of our personnel come from bushwalking clubs. As these people are going into the roughest areas in the state for leisure all the time they naturally are comfortable and safe in the bush. This means:
The squad contains many leaders in the outdoors world – BWRS has, as active members – international mountaineers and antarctic explorers; it has members who have walked across Australia’s deserts. In fact some members of BWRS were involved in the first explorations of some of the more popular canyons in NSW today.
Our standard procedure on an operation is to be prepared for 72 hours in the bush, without support. If that endurance is not required we will happily leave the extra gear behind but if it is needed we have it. This means you can send BWRS teams into the field in the knowledge that catering, accommodation and all the other logistics will not stop the operation proceeding.
The radios BSAR normally uses are not limited by line-of-sight. BSAR uses a HF system which operates in a totally different fashion to the traditional UHF or VHF systems. It has two main transmittion modes which allow communications beyond line-of-sight:
BSAR has used this technique to communicate between two stations at sea level, 30km apart with a 1000m high mountain range in between. It replaced a UHF system which relied on a manned UHF repeater on top of the mountain withstanding blizzards and snow!
BSAR has a routine UHF system with repeaters if the terrain is milder and allows the use of UHF systems.
BSAR know how bushwalkers think, simply because they are bushwalkers themselves. Experienced bushwalkers know the common mistakes of inexperienced walkers – which means we can immediately suggest some key areas to focus a search.
All BSAR personnel are trained, assessed and accredited to do their task. This makes the search and rescue operation as safe and effective as possible.
BSAR, as an affiliate squad of the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) is part of the VRA’s rescue operator training and assessment system, and is in the process of gaining national accreditation.
BSAR personnel take their commitment to the task seriously. They do their task to the best of their abilities and do not give up as soon as it gets tough.
A BSAR operation has a structure, lead by a BSAR search manager who controls a number of search teams each with a team leader. The BSAR search manager may also lead a team to assist in the running of a base. This structure is well established in the squad and fits in well with other emergency services and Police command structures.
BSAR also offers specialist skills: