Certification Levels

VDEM Tracking Certification Levels

SARTI provides qualified trackers to assist in search and rescue missions and in law enforcement cases as requested. We are an active member of the Virginia Search and Rescue Council (VASARCO) with an MOU agreement with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). SARTI’s certification levels come from tracking standards created and approved by those two organizations. These certification levels were developed over several years by a committee of accomplished trackers (including SARTI members) who sought to raise the bar on how to evaluate tracking skills for search and rescue resources.

Three certification levels are available: Operational Tracker, Tracking Technician, and Tracking Specialist. Trackers are evaluated objectively in field stations and during a written test. Certification in each level requires specific scores to be earned, and also associated pre-requisites as outlined below. Our publications page includes a documentation section for each certification level, which includes more specific details about the scores required for certification.

  • Operational Tracker

    Prerequisites

    • VDEM Search Team Member (STM)
    • CPR & First Aid
    • NIMS ICS 100, 700, 800, 809
    • certain tracking training hours and test scores
  • Tracking Technician

    Prerequisites

    • VDEM Search Team Leader (STL)
    • VDEM Management Team Member (MTM)
    • CPR & First Aid
    • NIMS ICS 100, 200 700, 800, 809
    • certain tracking training hours and test scores
  • Tracking Specialist

    Prerequisites

    • VDEM Search Team Leader (STL)
    • VDEM Management Team Member (MTM)
    • VDEM Management Team Leader (MTL)
    • CPR & First Aid
    • NIMS ICS 100, 200 700, 800, 809
    • certain tracking training hours and test scores

What can I do if I am not certified yet?

Achieving certification requires completion of a written test and 7 field stations with the required scores. The entire certification process takes time – including lots of “dirt-time” (practice). In the meantime, applicants to SARTI serve a probationary period. Once applicants successfully get voted on as members of the group they become SARTI Trainees. SARTI Trainees are only allowed to respond to searches if they are supervised by a fully certified VDEM Tracker (see levels above).

SARTI Trainee

Prerequisites – VDEM STM, CPR & First Aid, NIMS ICS 100, 700, 800, 809

Looking for links?

The resources section has links to the ICS/NIMS courses and the publications area has the current VDEM tracking standards. Check out the training page for tracking evaluation and training event dates.