Locate – Access – Stabilize – Transport
The first step in addressing any emergency situation is locating the subject or subjects in need of assistance. It may be as simple as asking for an address or as complex as an extended search for a lost person or persons. If the subject is easily found, rescuers and quickly move on to the next phase.
After locating the subject, rescuers must gain access to him or her in order to assess injuries, assess the situation, and address the problem. Accomplishing these objectives may be as simple as walking into a room with the subject or maybe as complex as organizing a full scale search effort.
Once rescuers reach the subject, medical stabilization commences. This process usually follows accepted procedures that start with primary and secondary physical examinations as well as basic and advanced life support as indicated. The objective of medical stabilization is usually to prepare the subject for transportation to a definitive medical care facility.
In this fourth phase of SAR, the subject is moved to where they can get necessary care. For this to occur the subject must be “packaged”, so they can be moved in a safe and efficient mannor while stabilization continues. Packaging consists of preparing the stabilized subject to be moved by attending to their ongoing medical needs, safety and comfort during transport. Methods of transportation range from assisting a lost or lightly injured subject to safety, evacuation by foot, stretcher, ATV, snowmobile or even by helicopter if the need arrises. The appropriate mode of transportation is determined by weather, the nature of injuries, overall urgency, terrain etc..L.