Bush Search and Rescue Victoria provides a pool of experienced bushwalkers and cross-country skiers for use in searches for lost people in the bush areas and snow-fields of Victoria. Our objective is to make available to the Victoria Police searchers who have the experience, fitness and personal equipment to safely participate in prolonged searching in adverse conditions and in the more remote parts of the state.
Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) is a part of Bushwalking Victoria, the peak body for bushwalkers and bushwalking clubs in Victoria.
BSAR members are called out to a search only in response to an official request for assistance from the Victoria Police.
Our members work under Police direction at all times, and are registered as emergency workers as required by the Emergency Management Act 1986. BSAR is listed in the State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP), specifically in the SEMP Role statement – Volunteer Search and Rescue Organisations.
Members responding to a search call-out are understood to be committed for two days. Return transport to Melbourne in less than two days is not assured unless the search concludes or is called off.
A member can decline any particular search call out for any reason.
Employers are encouraged to give a Bush Search and Rescue member special paid leave (e.g. community service leave) to cover their attendance on a search. Bush Search and Rescue has been in operation since 1949 and such leave has routinely been provided by many government and private employers during that time.
Of course any employer can ask a member to decline search call-outs if absences are excessive or when work requirements make it undesirable. It should be noted that most call-outs occur in the evening or early hours of the morning and it is rarely practical for a member to contact their employer when a call-out is received.
Victorian Public Service regulations specifically allow for attendance by employees at emergencies when they can be spared by their manager and Commonwealth Public Service employees have been granted paid leave for many years.
A Victoria Police Certificate of Attendance is issued to members attending a search confirming the dates and nature of the emergency.