The Search And Rescue Council of New Jersey was formed as a result of interest generated by Lt. (now Retired Captain) Dennis Quinn of the New Jersey State Police, Office of Emergency Management. He defined the need to identify Search and Rescue resources for the State Police and local resources and hosted a public meeting of concerned providers at State Police headquarters in December 1996. The Council was organized in May 1997 as an association of Search and Rescue organizations providing Search and Rescue services to New Jersey. Membership was restricted to organizations; there are no individual members. Leaders were picked from all areas of the state.
The purpose of the Council is:
To inform law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services of New Jersey concerning available search and rescue services in outdoor settings.
To assist local governments to reduce instances of unsuccessful searches.
To cooperate with New Jersey State Police and County Office of Emergency Management departments in dissemination of education and information to search and rescue teams in New Jersey.
To cooperate with government agencies and other interested organizations in identifying the needs of search and rescue organizations and planning to meet those needs.
To foster mutual aid agreements and assistance between SAR organizations. To publicize the existence of search and rescue teams so appropriate resources may be best deployed when search occurs.
To promote and conduct public education concerning outdoor recreation safety with a view to reducing the incidence and severity of searches.
In respect for the Home Rule authority of the communities and counties of New Jersey, the Council specifically does not take over any jurisdictional roles or responsibilities. When invited, certain qualified volunteer or career individuals from member organizations may perform defined roles from securing SAR resources to performing SAR management services on behalf of the host jurisdiction. The Council does not assume or commit any fiscal or legal obligations on behalf of the host.
Completed projects include development of a Search and Rescue resource guide for user agencies, hosting the National Search and Rescue School, and establishing and supporting annual training conference weekends.
Projects in progress include assisting in the refinement of Search and Rescue resource data, fostering development of software to assist in dissemination of SAR resource information, promoting regional Search and Rescue training activities in technical and management SAR subjects, fostering pursuit of excellence in accordance with SAR standards, providing a continuing forum for discussion of state SAR problems and solutions, and providing speakers to share information on SAR development in New Jersey.
Currently, within the state, local and volunteer responding agencies, there are approximately 2000 individuals providing free Search and Rescue service to New Jersey.