Though the Destiny Search Project can deploy our system in a matter of a few hours one of our goals has always been to be proactive and less reactive. Even early on in 2009 while developing our paper-based system at that time we reached out to communities, agencies, and organizations to prepare them to use the system as needed. We did this in several ways, over time many of these opportunities involved a hands-on training class on the system and others just a booth to showcase our mission and system. This included a few all day workshops that covered everything a group would need to know to get a search center up and running.
We presented these classes to neighborhood watch groups, churches, and a couple of CERT Teams in Utah, We also held a couple of larger classes for the general public that included a complete mock search operation. The goal of these is to have people ready to respond when needed and open a community-based search.
Even now as we work towards having our system ready to go anywhere in the nation we will continue in this training. One method we will use is that of our Search Ready Communities program. We also are looking at a larger scale test of our Virtual Support Team next spring.
One of our most memorable events was in Salt Lake County, Utah where we had been invited by the Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management. We had a table at a preparedness fair at the county Emergency Operations Center. It was not the event itself though that would become so remarkable. around noon, about four hours before the event was to end the Sheriffs SAR and Mobile Command Center started packing up. It was only a few minutes later that one of the deputies came to our table.
A girl was missing in Sandy. The search was on. Search and Rescue were responding and community members were already gathering at a local church. We were activated in person and packed up our gear and left the event. We were on scene and set up only 45 mins later. A few of our previously trained volunteer staff that received the activation page were there within an hour and we were operational.
What started as just a show and tell event was now a full activation and search operation. The Sherriff’s department and SAR were quite impressed at seeing the system work as advertised in in such a short response time. The missing girl was located safely after only a few hours and returned home. We had used around 100 volunteer searchers in just four hours and everything had gone smoothly.
So with that being said we are very excited that next week will be attending the Oregon State Sheriffs Association conference in Bend, Oregon. We will be showcasing our services, the operations system, and telling them how we can help them when someone goes missing. We also are interested in speaking to them and SAR members about the difference in what we can provide and what they already do with highly skilled and trained members. We look forward to meeting and getting the word out to Oregon about what we offer and also the search ready community program.
Be sure to follow our Facebook Page as we will be posting updates throughout the event. We will have an article to recap everything in a couple of weeks.