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Search and Rescue Team


The first State Emergency Service Search and Rescue (SAR) Team (North West Region) was formed in 1992 by the Burnie, Kentish and Mersey SES Units.  They had the aim to train and equip a specialist, highly skilled team for search and rescue operations in remote wilderness areas of Tasmania's central highlands.  In 1998 a second SAR Team (Southern Region) was formed followed by a third team (Northern Region) in 1999. Initially the team was called the Search Assistance Team. In October 1996 the name was changed to Search and Rescue Assistance Team, to better describe the Team's changing role and responsibilities.  In February 1999 the Assistance was dropped to become the Search and Rescue Team (better known as SAR Team).


The SAR Teams have been trained and equipped to provide 24/7 search and rescue support to the Tasmanian Police Search and Rescue Squad. The SAR Teams comprise specialist, highly trained volunteer members who are capable of conducting extended search and rescue operations in remote wilderness areas in all weather conditions.


Membership for the SAR Teams is open to interested members of the public and registered volunteer SES members who have a reasonable level of fitness and interest and experience in bushwalking, caving, rafting and search and rescue.


To ensure a high level of skills and knowledge, monthly Regional or State training activities are conducted.  Practical weekend training activities each month include search techniques, remote are first aid, mountain craft, navigation, wilderness incident management, leadership, caving, vertical rescue, helicopter operations and more.  Additional combined training is conducted with the Police Search and Rescue Squad.


All new members must participate in 2 day walks and one extended overnight walk with the SAR Team before they are used during an operational callout.  The aim of this evaluation is to ensure that a high standard is maintained within the Team.


For all enquires regarding membership of the SAR Teams please contact the relevant regional office.