The Search and Rescue Tracking Institute (SARTI) would like to congratulate Gary Goodson, SARTI’s Director, on his election as Vice President of the Virginia Search and Rescue Council (VASARCO)!

“The Virginia Search and Rescue Council, Inc. is a 501c3 organization consisting of members of state and local government, and search and rescue organizations. The Council fosters communication between organizations and helps to develop and coordinate the search and rescue system in Virginia, which provides for the arrangement of personnel, facilities, equipment, and training for the effective and coordinated delivery of search and rescue services. ” -from

SARTI is a proud and active member of VASARCO. You can read more about VASARCO at the website listed above.

Congratulations Gary!

Logo of the Virginia Search and Rescue Council

2016 Training Events

Our 2016 training calendar has been updated with details on our upcoming 2016 quarterly training events (more on that below). New classes will be added as we learn about them. Currently the next scheduled FAST class will be at the GSAR Academy in October-November. This event will be at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, VA. VDEM’s Advanced Tracking class will likely be schedule for early December.

Winter 2016 Training (February)

Tycho doing an acrobatic LKP approach at our February 2015 training.

SARTI’s Winter 2016 training will be held next weekend February 12-14 at Twin Lakes State Park. It is open to all members and prospective members. Some topics may include aging and longer distance signcutting techniques.


Spring 2016 Training (May) Search and Rescue Exercise

Also, our Spring 2016 training will again be in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Parkway Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX), May 13-15. This year it will be at the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax, VA. All disciplines are invited to participate, not just trackers! The simulation will take place on Saturday, May 14th. SARTI will set up tracking exercises on May 13th and 15th to supplement the exercise with our training. Camping will be available on-site. As usual, meals will be on your own, except for the possibility of a catered meal on Saturday night (for a fee).

Please feel free to invite others from your teams, and from surrounding teams or 1st response agencies that you think might be interested! This is opened to all states and is not Virginia specific. We’d like to aim to have participants from all of the surrounding states (MD, WV, TN, NC, KY) and we may have a small prize this year for the individual or agency that travels the farthest.

For more information you can visit our event page here or email BlueRidgeParkwaySAREX [at] gmail (dot)com.

Due to liability issues all personnel participating in the SAREX must have at least one of the following qualifications: VA STM, NASAR SAR Tech, NPS employee, or member of a fire/rescue, SAR or law enforcement agency. Trainees may be allowed under direct supervision of their agency and with permission of the Incident Commander.

Spring Training – Rocky Knob SAR Exercise

SARTI members had a great time entertaining and learning from guest instructor Fernando Moreira at our winter training. Now that the snows are melting and the bulbs are sprouting it is time to think about spring training!

Our spring quarterly training will be taking place May 15-17 in conjunction with the Blue Ridge Parkway SAR Exercise hosted by the National Park Service. This year the exercise will be taking place in the Rocky Knob Recreation area. Opportunities will be available for tracking tasks during the simulation on Saturday, as well as other tracking activities on Friday and Sunday. There are also many other opportunities for management, K9 and ground resources to participate. For more details, check out the Facebook event page-

For liability reasons, attendees have to be a member of a fire, rescue, SAR or law enforcement agency. Trainees may participate under direct supervision of the group training officer.

Hannah Graham search

September has already been a busy month for SARTI members and other search and rescue groups across the Commonwealth. Our most recent call-out has been for missing UVA student Hannah Graham. Several members are deployed now and will continue to search through the weekend.

Hannah Graham search

If you have any tips about Hannah’s disappearance please contact the Charlottesville Police tip line at 434-295-3851

**Note**Though our policy is not to comment about the sensitive aspects of some of the searches we assist on, we can provide links to information that the media has already publicly released.

August wrap-up

We just concluded a very successful quarterly training event in central Virginia. One of our training goals was to hone our skills at detecting clandestine graves in addition to the tracking and clue awareness skills that we usually practice. We had a lot of help setting up some training exercises and we couldn’t have had better weather or a more picturesque riverside location – thank you Mike Hull for hosting us!

Our next training will be November 7-9. We’ll keep you posted with the location.

June 2014 FTS

VDEM Training Announcement

VDEM will be offering a Monday through Friday FTS class June 16-20, 2014 at Twin Lakes State Park near Farmville, Virginia. Sign up will be open on LMS. Please contact Rob Speiden if you have any questions.