Mountainpathfinder>> Georgia SAR>> Frequently Asked Questions about...NASAR SARTECH II Evaluations

Q: "How do I find out about your next SARTECH II?"

A: I primarily assist other Lead Evaluators with their tests.

Q: "Do I have to take a FUNSAR class in order to challenge the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A: No, but it's strongly recommended. The FUNSAR class covers all of the written and practical information for the evaluation. If you pass the FUNSAR written exam, you may exempt out of the SARTECH written exam for up to 12 months after passing it. However, there are many students who succeed at the SARTECH II through self-study or after having taken non-NASAR classes.

Q: "Can I take a SARTECH II evaluation immediately after completing a FUNSAR class?"

A: Yes, but I don't recommend it. The FUNSAR class covers all of the written and practical information for the evaluation. The FUNSAR doesn't afford you the time to become proficient enough to pass the field land navigation section. Some students also need more time to master the knot-tying skills. I strongly encourage students to practice these for some time between the FUNSAR and the SARTECH.

Q: "What's the toughest part of the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A: Undoubtedly the field land navigation. It's a difficult point-to-point, dead-reckoning course done often through brush and while wearing a ready pack. Nerves get the best of students on tying some knots. After that, the written test's questions on ICS and map and compass are tough on some students. The area search portion of the practical exam is another stumbling block. Some candidates either fail to communicate with each other or they only look to their front for clues. They don't consistently search the "searcher cube" by looking above and behind them as well as to both sides.

Q: "How do I prepare for the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A: Several things can make life easier

  • A basic level of physical conditioning is important. Get accustomed to cross-country walks with the pack. Get acclimated to the temperatures in which you will test.
  • Be as well-rested as possible. Students often come to the evaluation on Saturdays or Sundays after having worked the night shift
  • Bring pencils, an eraser, your compass, a grid reader, and a piece of plain copy paper to use as a straight-edge on the land navigation part of the written examination
  • Consider bringing a highlighter for the test questions pertaining to finding a bearing on the map. Use it to highlight the magnetic meridians drawn on your map. This will avoid confusing the grid lines with the magnetic meridians
  • Complete the free online FEMA NIMS Incident Command System (ICS) Independent Study Program classes, ICS-100 and ICS-200, since several test questions are on NIMS and ICS
  • Pack check. Carefully check your pack's contents the night before the test. Make sure you have the "ten essentials" plus anything else recommended by the lead evaluator. Place the contents in some kind of order so that you can readily show them to the evaluator
  • Minimize the amount of weight that you must carry on the field land navigation test. Strip off any unnecessary retail wrappers or packaging of pack equipment. When necessary, re-package with the lightest means possible. For example, your aspirin or acetaminophen capsules can be repackaged in small, sturdy zip-locked bags referred to as "craft baggies" or "crack baggies". These are sold in bags of 100 for around $3.00 at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and other craft stores. Other items, such as Band-aids and AA- or AAA- batteries fit in these, and they're much lighter than the retail blister packs
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Q: "Can I pack extra quantities (say, 12 matches instead of eight) of supplies, or must I carry exactly the quantities shown on the pack list - no more and no less?"

A: Yes. You can carry extra quantities of the necessary supplies up to as much weight as you can bear. However, you are expected to finish the land navigation station with at least the minimum required quantities of supplies that you had when you started the station. "Dumping" supplies is not permitted.

Q: "Can I pack extra items (say, a radio or cell phone) or must I carry exactly the items on shown on the pack list - no more and no less?"

A: Yes, with the EXCEPTION OF A GPS RECEIVER OR ANOTHER GPS-LIKE NAVIGATIONAL AID. I encourage everyone to carry either a cell phone or a Family Radio Service (FRS) radio on the land navigation station.

Q: "Is there a "best time" to take the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A: Undoubtedly it's the "brown season" between the time that the leaves fall and when the trees start leafing out again. This affords you the best view of the targets among the trees. There's a reason that most orienteering meets are held from fall to early spring. The level of challenge is much higher once the leaves start blocking your view.

Q: "What are the recommended study guides for the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A:

Q: "Do you teach other SAR workshops to prepare for the SARTECH II evaluation?"

A: Yes. I occasionally schedule a one-day workshop to discuss the SARTECH II evaluation. Participants DO NOT get a NASAR certificate upon completion of the workshop. I sometimes schedule a workshop to cover all objectives in the weekends prior to an evaluation. If a team wants it, I can coordinate a workshop with the team to cover just the objectives that the team wants covered. Please email me if you want to discuss this.

Q: "Will we still do the SARTECH if it's raining, snowing, etc.?"

A: Yes. Lost person work is an all-weather affair done in daylight or dark. The evaluation will only be affected if weather is too hazardous to travel or work in the field (ice storm, severe thunderstorms, etc.). We have done SARTECH II evaluations in the snow in Georgia.

Q: "My SARTECH II question isn't answered here. Where do I go?"

A: Your first source of information should be the Lead Evaluator for your test. Otherwise, email me. Check the NASAR website. Email the NASAR SARTECH program coordinator.

Thanks to Allen Padgett, of Search and Rescue Dogs of Georgia (SARDOG), and Craig Bannerman, of the Black Mountain (NC)Fire Department, for their contributions to this FAQ.

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Updated Sunday, January 10, 2010, 02:51 PM
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