|Oswego County Search & Rescue Team:
~ About Us ~
The Pioneer Search and Rescue Team was formed in August of 1971, for the purpose of providing a professional,
qualified team of citizen volunteers to assist in searches for missing persons in and around New York State. In July of
1971, a massive search for a missing 8 year old boy in the Adirondacks pointed up the need for trained and
experienced search resources to be available in a timely manner when lost and/or missing persons incidents occurred.
One of the great mysteries of the Adirondacks, the young boy, Douglas Legg, was never found, but the civilian
community responded by forming local teams, of which the Oswego County team was the first. At the same time, the
New York State Forest Rangers started a process through which they would become the governmental organization
most skilled and experienced at Search and Rescue in New York State. The growth of both the civilian SAR teams and
the NYS Forest Rangers SAR program have been closely tied together.
Pioneer SAR Team has been recognized by the Oswego County Legislature as the official Search and Rescue team for
this County. What distinguishes our county SAR team is it's designation, and utilization, as a first tier response agency.
Depending on the nature of a lost/missing persons call in the County, the 9-1-1 center will automatically activate, or
place the team on stand-by pending further information. This process, in use for more than a decade now, has
resulted in significantly better outcomes with fewer resources expended than what the county experienced
previously. The team is automatically activated for Project Lifesaver incidents, incidents in which the caller indicates
that they are "lost", and other high sense-of-urgency scenarios. In close coordination with law enforcement, this
approach to improving both the responsiveness, and the quality, of the responders to these types of incidents has
made a marked improvement in outcomes.
Pioneer SAR Team has participated in hundreds of searches throughout New York State, Pennsylvania, Vermont and
Team members are certified and trained in search techniques, DEC basic SAR, basic land navigation, wilderness first
aid, survival, communications, project life saver, the national Incident Command System (ICS), and other skills that
enable them to deal with most search and rescue situations.
Since our team may be called upon in any type of weather conditions and at any time of the day, training is held
regardless of weather and periodically scheduled during night time hours. Pioneer SAR Team is an all-volunteer
organization with no paid personnel. Members are responsible for providing most of their own personal equipment.
Team training is held a minimum of once a month. Many of the members who desire additional levels of training
obtain it at their own expense and time.
Pioneer SAR Team is a member of the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams, a group they helped
organize in 1974. The purpose of the Federation is to make available, in New York State, a network of SAR teams
trained and experienced in search and rescue. Twice a year personnel from Federation teams meet and train
together. Mock searches are held at these sessions (Comfeds) to provide participants the opportunity to work closely
with each other. Typically, members of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) also participate in
and observe these activities as part of their relationship with the Federation teams.
The Federation and its members work closely with the DEC's own SAR teams, the NYS Police, local law enforcement,
and the individual county Sheriff's, volunteer fire departments and rescue squads.
As a volunteer organization, Pioneer SAR members serve without compensation. As they may be called out at any
time, and often for days at a time, work and personal schedules may limit their participation. Although volunteers,
team members consider themselves professionals- always training to maintain and improve their skills