Members of GTA attended the FIRST Lost Person Behavior Class taught in Georgia on Dec 12-13, 2009 at the Hall County EOC.


The class was taught by Jim Greenway and Ed Nance, both of who attended a week long training course in Virginia, taught by Robert Koester.

The information presented represents the  “Bleeding Edge” for lost person searches.   We focused on search subject classification and associated real word statistics for over 0,001 actual searches.  The data included the following :

  • Distance from the IPP/LKP where the person was found
  • Mobility Hours – How long the person moved before stopping
  • Dispersion Angle (from original path)
  • Track Offset – Distance from the original path that the person was located
  • Survivability for a particular category based on time
  • Initial Reflex Tasking Checklists based on Category
  • Investigative questions specific to Category

In addition to learning how to use the data included in Koester’s book “Lost Person Behavior” we had several tabletop exercises using actual SAR missions.

This class was extremely valuable, especially when you incorporate the data as part of your initial Search Urgency calculation and Reflex Tasking assignments.  In addition to the traditional “Wheel Model” of Reflex Tasks, we also learned about a cutting edge strategy of corridor searches as an additional part of the Reflex Tasking steps.

Here are the steps in Reflex Tasking :

1. Look, Listen and acquire information.  This is done from a combination of theoretical, statistical and deductive work and a quickie consensus process.  Get the map out.

2. Start to follow the “Wheel Model” for Reflex tasking.  Starting with the HUB and BEARINGS.  Saturate the hub out to the 25% probability circle or 300 meters.  If the hub and bearing fail, so does everything else.

3. The RIM – Establish Containment based on a combination of theoretical, statistical and deductive work.

4. The SPOKES – These represent possible routes from the IPP (paths, roads, trails, powerlines, fence lines, power lines, etc).  Get qualified, clue conscious searches to rapidly conduct hasty searches along the spokes.  These hasty teams also provide real-time info on decision points along the hasty route.

5. The REFLECTORS – Check likely spots of attraction for the particular category of lost person.

6. If the subject is not located as part of the above reflex tasks, then consider deploying trained searches to conduct a “Corridor Search” along the hasty search routes (depending on category of person you are looking for).  Early data shows that this is a incredibly valuable technique that can rapidly either find the person or at a minimum reduce the search area by a substantial percentage.  A corridor search is basically a search along and a certain distance (based on Koester’s data) either side of the spokes already hasty searched above.

Other take away’s include always being aware of potential “Scenario Lock”.

All in all, it was an excellent class and big kudos to Jim and Ed for making this available.

Persons attended included folks from Hall County SAR, Georgia Trackers Alliance, Hall County Sheriff’s Dept, Alpha Team SAR, Appalachian Trail Club SAR team and Chatham County EMA/CERT.


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3 Responses to “GTA Attends Lost Person Behavior Class”

  • Mona says:

    Great write up Ken. I highly recommend this class. The information is very helpful and geared toward the “Tailgate IC”. What do you do when you first arrive, waiting for key folks to arrive and getting organized? I love the idea of checklists and reflex tasking geared toward the specific lost person category. Jim and Ed did a great job of keeping things moving while still giving real life examples and allowing the class to give examples or ask questions to really grasp things. It was great to meet and exchange info with other teams as well. Jim and Ed are working on refinements on the class and boiling it down to a one day class. I heard several folks say they were waiting to take the class again when possible.

  • markjyng says:

    What a team. Congratulations to the instructors and the students! Now, let’s get that next one planned. Up to date and accurate data on lost person behavior, and the right tools and methods to identify and apply the data correctly is a very valuable skill and tool for trackers as well as any SAR related professional. I encourage all members to take the class and learn to apply the data as proficiently as possible.

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