Robert J. Koester PhD, FRGS School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, University of Portsmouth dbS Productions UK, USA
COVID-19 has impacted how search and rescue (SAR) teams respond to incidents, conduct operations, provide patient care, and demobilize. This review looks at COVID-19 symptoms, transmission, and risk factors that might affect search and rescue response. It then looks at risk assessment that might impact the development of COVID-19 operational guidelines along with several general guidelines that have been developed. A literature search was conducted and six response guidelines from search and rescue organization were located. They represented Maritime, Urban, Helicopter, and Ground Search and Rescue organizations. Elements of each guideline are assessed and important differences between different types of SAR functions explored. All SAR teams should develop guidelines on how to best to respond not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but for future infectious disease incidents as well.
Key Words: Response guidelines, protocols, COVID-19, Search and Rescue