Search and Rescue
All search and rescue incidents in New Mexico are coordinated by the New Mexico State Police Division. The primary resources for these incidents are volunteers. In the 30 years since the search and rescue law was passed, these volunteers have been activated thousands of times. Hundreds of people owe their lives to these selfless citizens.
THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE…
Search and Rescue missions in New Mexico occur every 36 hours. Missions include overdue aircraft, lost hunters, lost children, drowning, climbers, hikers, skiers, fishermen, and other users of our great New Mexico outdoors.
The New Mexico Search and Rescue Act was passed in 1978. Even though this law was passed many years ago, it is still considered by many to be one of the most efficient search and rescue acts in the US today. In the State of New Mexico, there is on average 126 SAR incidents every year. SAR incidents have occurred though-out the State and are initiated at any time.
All search and rescue missions in New Mexico are controlled by the New Mexico State Police, allowing SAR responders to have the ability to respond just about anywhere in the State where their services are needed. Since the SAR Act put the jurisdictional responsibility with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police division, there is no need to have written agreements between counties in New Mexico to perform SAR operations and avoid any potential jurisdictional disagreements that occur in other states.
This also allows for a single standard of care to be utilized and the State can insure that all SAR responders are trained to the single standard. The utilization of a single standard of care has made the New Mexico SAR program into a role model that many other states are attempting to duplicate.
As established by the SAR Act of 1978, Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the “control agency”, the Agency having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for SAR activities in the State of New Mexico. The New Mexico State Police (NMSP) division of DPS has been tasked with the management and administration of operations that are come under the auspice of the SAR Plan. The SAR Resource Officer is the Chief Administrator of the SAR Plan and ensures that resources for SAR incidents are available and are trained for tasks to be performed on SAR Incidents.
When a SAR incident occurs, the NMSP SAR Incident Commander is tasked to manage the incident, within the guidelines of the Incident Command System and to maintain the standard of care as established by the Department of Public Safety.
The Incident Command System is a flexible system of management that has a predetermined chain of command and is to be utilized on all emergency responses in the state. By implementing ICS, the SAR responders, to include volunteers and other agencies personnel, are assigned positions within the system and know who they report to and who reports to them.
For more information about the structure and organization of the NMSP Search and Rescue division, please see our review board.