Butte County Search & Rescue believes that communication is key to the success of any mission, large or small. While a SAR mission might have the best people, if those people are not able to communicate, the mission can easily be lost. Our team has an extensive VHF repeater system on 5 mountain top locations throughout the county. These repeaters allow SAR teams to communicate with each other, with Search Base, our dispatch, and allied agencies. These repeaters ensure that our teams have constant, safe, and reliable communications no matter where the mission may take them.
Another key part of mission success is keeping track of our teams in the field. While all team members carry a GPS for track logging, BCSAR has implemented methods to track teams in the field in real time using Pryme GPS Mics. These devices are connected to our two-way radios and transmit their location over audio. They are set up to send out a location every time a searcher transmits, or every 10 minutes if no radio traffic is made. These positions are received by a dedicated radio and GPS receiver in Command 1, and displayed on a laptop running Terrain Navigator Pro with Team Tracker module. This system allows our search managers to see in real time the progress of a mission and status of each team. Most importantly, the system greatly increases the safety of those deployed in the field.