About the Search and Rescue Tracking Institute

Since the group’s inception, members of the Search and Rescue Tracking Institute (SARTI) have volunteered their time to preserve and train in the skills of human and animal tracking. While we have “search and rescue” in our name, many of our members are also avid animal trackers or have former law enforcement or military training. SARTI’s members are instrumental in passing on the art and skills of tracking to interested individuals through various schools, universities, their primary SAR teams, and other venues.

SARTI encourages our members to improve beyond the trainings that we offer. Although we meet quarterly to practice visual tracking skills many members still travel the country, and have even gone overseas, to train with other tracking programs (see our Resources section for links to other programs and tracking schools). We are always seeking to expand our knowledge and to work with other like-minded and passionate individuals in different environments and terrain.  Members are expected to develop and hone skills through extensive “dirt time”. The world is our classroom and our subjects are all things that move and leave tracks or sign.


SARTI was founded by Greg Fuller to provide continuing education opportunities to personnel interested in learning and practicing human and animal tracking skills. Since our first training in the fall of 1998 we have met at a variety of locations around Virginia. We continue to look for new venues to train at to broaden our knowledge of different landscapes.

SARTI acquired a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) in 2001. Since then SARTI has been providing tracking-trained professional volunteer searchers to assist in missing person searches throughout Virginia.

Affiliations and MOUs

SARTI provides assistance to localities across the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the Mid-Atlantic region. Since 2001 SARTI has had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with VDEM. This MOU allows the group to assist with missing person, cold case and evidence searches for the Commonwealth. The MOU process is regulated and described in VDEM’s search and rescue standards. SARTI personnel are also active members of the Virginia Search and Rescue Council and the International Society of Professional Trackers. We encourage members that want to practice other SAR disciplines (technical rescue, K9, equine) to maintain dual membership with another SAR agency.

How SARTI gets activated

SARTI, through its MOU with VDEM, gets notified by a state-wide alert network. Once SARTI has been notified of the request for resources for a missing person search, professional volunteers are notified through a text/phone/email notification system. SARTI handles the dispatching and accountability of our members internally.

If you would like to request SARTI’s personnel for a search, please call the VDEM EOC at 1-800-468-8892. Since we have members throughout and outside of Virginia, we are likely to be able to respond to any location in Virginia within two hours. **Please note: We can only respond to requests for our services from applicable local, state and/or federal responsible agencies.**