Line search

These notes and the technique described have been endorsed by Police Search and Rescue.

The purpose of line searching is to visually search every bit of the ground in a given area, for any sign of the missing person.

A line of searchers (max of 10-12) are spaced so that all of the ground between each searcher can and will be visually checked

  • Working up and down the slope is best.
  • Line must be staggered; working off the person on left or right.
  • The line moves forward to sweep a designated area looking for any clue (or the lost person). Boundaries marked with TP.
  • Each thicket of scrub, mine shaft, fallen tree, rock, etc. is checked.
  • If a searcher has to stop, the rest of the line waits.
  • The spacing of searchers must be reduced if denser scrub or rougher ground is encountered, to ensure full coverage is maintained.
  • Don’t forget to look behind you.
  • Line searching only works if each searcher does their job 100% correctly all the time.

Marking Boundaries

Coloured forestry tape is used to mark task boundaries tying it around vegetation and trees near eye level.  This tape is included in search kits.

Duncan Brookes 05/09/2017

Last Updated on February 17, 2021