How BSAR Works

Police call BSAR

Victoria Police is responsible for search and rescue for people missing or in distress in the bush and snowfields.

The Police Search and Rescue Squad calls BSAR when our members’ particular skills are needed to assist in a search for or rescue of a missing or injured person. There is also an arrangement for direct local call outs in north east Victoria.

Call outs

When BSAR receives the request for assistance, all members get an automated phone call, an SMS and an email stating the situation, location, any special requirements, the time commitment required, usually two days, and the transport pickup times and locations.

Call outs are usually at short notice and often late in the day, but can occur during the night.  Sometimes an earlier alert message from Police indicates that a call out is likely, which enables more members to make arrangements to attend.

Members are not compelled to respond to every call out. It is understood other commitments, work and family, can prevent members from assisting. Those members responding to the call out have a limited time to pack the food and equipment required. 

If a search is not resolved, additional call outs can occur over the following days.

On occasions, when a search is still unresolved, BSAR can be called again over the following weeks.


Victoria Police provide bus transport to the search base, departing from designated metropolitan and regional pick-up points, often in the early hours of the morning.  

Call outs in north-east Victoria

A large contingent of BSAR members live in northeast Victoria.  Emergencies arise regularly in the region especially in winter, for example on Mt Bogong and Mt Feathertop.  Regional police can request the assistance of the local BSAR members directly, who provide a more immediate response capability.