I have not been responding to Search & Rescue call-outs, mainly because when the calls have come, I've been doing something away from home: hiking, say (today), or (yesterday) returning from a day out doing trail work.
But another reason is that my so-called 24-hour pack is . . . empty. I need to pack it again, so I can be prepared next time a call comes in.
At the very least, I need to know where my headlamp is.
I've just sought out a couple of lists of the items we are supposed to have on hand to be efficient SAR team members.
The most basic of basics: Helmet and gloves, headlamp and knife. Charged radio. First aid kit. Sunscreen. Hat. Food. Water. Warmth, if needed. (Boots and uniform go without saying.)
And then there's Personal Rope Rescue Equipment considerations: a sit-harness and a chest harness, which you link together with a small piece of webbing; various carabiners, locking and not; a set of Purcell prusiks (slideable loops for self-rescue); a personal belay device (e.g., ATC); and a short prusik loop for rappelling (conditional belay).
For the 24-hour pack—so called because when you head out on a backcountry search, who knows when you'll get back—you'll need a few extra items. (Strictly speaking, for a missing-person search you don't need the rope rescue equipment, but you never know when you'll need to descend a gully to do a check. Of course, in that case, you'll need a rope, so . . . if a rope comes along, bring rope rescue gear; if not, leave it behind.)
- shelter (tent or bivy sack)
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad (not mandatory, but if you want to sleep in the backcountry . . .)
- more food, both meals and snacks
- fire starters
- (stove/fuel, cook kit, utensils)
- notebook and pencil
- flagging tape
- headlamp and extra batteries
- GPS unit (and extra batteries)
- map and compass
- signal mirror and whistle (I do not carry these, but they're a good idea)
- rain gear
- bandanna (me, I need to remember to bring a bandanna with me everywhere)