excerpt from “Fundamentals of Search & Rescue” pg. 3
The National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) is a not-for-profit membership organization of dedicated paid and unpaid SAR professionals. NASAR acts as an umbrella organization where people of all SAR specialties can meet, network, and coordinate their wide-ranging skills to establish maximum effectiveness in emergency situations. Since 1972, NASAR has provided its members with educational opportunities, timely publications, and a variety of conferences, workshops and symposia, the most well known being its own annual conference. NASAR offers formal training opportunities that have grown to include topics ranging from the most rudimentary SAR skills through sophisticated incident management.
In 1991, NASAR developed some of the first national certification criteria for search and rescue personnel. These criteria are referred to as SAR TECH III, SAR TECH II, and SAR TECH I/Crewleader III, and were developed to evaluate three levels of search responder so that a measurable level of individual and crew capability could be available for Incident Commanders. The criteria have also been adopted by several states in the U.S. and by a multitude of SAR teams nationwide; the development and acceptance of these criteria continue to grow. NASAR also participates in international standards making processes such as those of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International. NASAR maintains a specialty bookstore that contains authoritative and often difficult to find texts, and has established an extensive web site.
As an umbrella organization, NASAR has close ties the widest variety of SAR-related organizations, including all types of public safety agencies. Among the active partner organizations are the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA), Civil Air Patrol, approximately 300 search dog organizations, numerous local volunteer SAR units, dive rescue units, cave rescue groups, and other related organizations. In the United States, NASAR maintains a close relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), and the United States Coast Guard (USGC). NASAR also participates on the National SAR Committee (NSARC). Internationally, NASAR enjoys a close relationship with the Canadian SAR Secretariat and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and has a growing member presence in countries all over the world.