Land Search Operations Manual

Land Search Operations Manual

Version February 2017

This manual has been developed by a national working party consisting of representatives from the Search and Rescue authorities that make up the NATSAR council and with due regard to the International Aviation and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR). Input was also received from State and Territory Emergency Services, initiated and sponsored by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Please ensure printed copies are kept up to date.

Available by section

For ease of reference, follow the quick links. The date of the most recent amendment is shown.

Section Last updated
Table of Contents (PDF, 363 MB) February 2017
Glossary (PDF, 99KB) February 2017
Chapter 1: Search and Rescue System (PDF, 457 KB) February 2017
Chapter 2: Communications (PDF, 206 KB) February 2017
Chapter 3: Awareness and Initial Action (PDF, 418 KB) February 2017
Chapter 4: Search Planning and Assessment (PDF, 3.56 MB) February 2017
Chapter 5: Search Techniques and Operations (Land) (PDF, 1.18 MB) February 2017
Chapter 6: Rescue Planning and Operations (PDF, 307 KB) February 2017
Chapter 7: Conclusion of SAR Operations (PDF, 290 KB) February 2017
Chapter 8: Training and Exercises (PDF, 306 KB) February 2017
Chapter 9: Medical Factors (PDF, 282 KB) February 2017


Section Last updated
Appendix A: Australian States and Land Search Areas (PDF, 196 KB) February 2017
Appendix B: SAR Responsibilities Table (PDF, 193 KB) February 2017
Appendix C: Inter‑Governmental Agreement (PDF, 288 KB) February 2017
Appendix D: Transfer Form (PDF, 239 KB) February 2017
Appendix E: Search Urgency Form (PDF, 165 KB) February 2017
Appendix F: Missing Person Questionnaire (PDF, 102 KB) February 2017
Appendix G: Object Questionnaire (PDF, 167 KB) February 2017
Appendix H: Land SAR Checklist (PDF, 460 KB) February 2017
Appendix I: Lost Person Behaviour (PDF, 414 KB) February 2017
Appendix J: Land SAR Planning Tables (PDF, 230 KB) February 2017
Appendix K: Additions to Naismith’s Rule (PDF, 254 KB) February 2017
Appendix L: Probability of Detection (Land) (PDF, 337 KB) February 2017
Appendix M: Mattson Consensus (PDF, 172 KB) February 2017
Appendix N: Land Search Organisation Chart (PDF, 180 KB) February 2017
Appendix O: Headquarters Layout (PDF, 170 KB) February 2017
Appendix P: Search Communications Net (PDF, 170 KB) February 2017
Appendix Q: Clue Recognition Version (PDF, 200 KB) February 2017
Appendix R: Tasking Sheet (PDF, 107 KB) February 2017
Appendix S: Whiteboards (PDF, 94 KB) February 2017
Appendix T: Search for Skeletal Remains February 2017
Appendix U: Aid for Coordinators suspecting or considering suicide by the target February 2017
Appendix V: National operational procedure for transfer of coordination for land SAR incidents February 2017


The National Land Search Ops manual is reviewed and updated through an annual amendments program. Amendments can be proposed throughout the year, which are then reviewed and approved by the NATSAR Council at the annual meeting. All approved amendments can be viewed in the amendment history below.

To propose an amendment please email the Secretariat.

View amendment history