Mounted Search Technician, MSTC

Position Category: 
All-Hazard Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
AD Class: 


The purpose of this position is to act as an emergency responder and mounted search team member by performing a variety of search and rescue functions during an incident.


  • Performs ground search and rescue operations on horseback.
  • Implements the search component of the Incident Action Plan.  Searches outdoor environments indicated in the Incident Action Plan using search techniques appropriate to a mounted operation such as hasty search, efficient search, thorough search, grid search, evidence search, and ground searches.
  • Utilizes maps, compass, and GPS equipment to track and document search areas.
  • Documents locations of alerts, clues, and follow-up tasks.  Cooperates with and assists other search and rescue resources.  Ensures adherence to all safety procedures for the rider and mount.
  • Provides emergency medical treatment within the scope of certification and training.
  • May participate in large animal control activities required to move livestock or wildlife as the result of hazardous conditions such as fire or flood.
  • Accounts for, utilizes, maintains, and performs minor repair for all issued equipment.
  • Participates in briefings, receives situation reports and stays informed of mission objectives and status changes.
  • Provides input at the field level concerning the development of new technologies, equipment, tactics and skills as they pertain to the mounted search component.
  • Performs additional tasks or duties as assigned during a mission.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • Operational knowledge of the Incident command System (ICS), and the development and use of integrated action planning concepts and processes.
  • Thorough understanding of mounted search capabilities, limitations, and procedures such as gained through successful completion of ASTM Mounted SAR Standards.
  • Knowledge of mounted search techniques including hasty searches, grid searches, evidence searches, and ground searches.
  • Advanced horsemanship skill gained through occupational or recreational equine activities.  Ability to monitor the fitness of a mount to participate in, or continue a search operation.  Ability to perform equine first aid.
  • Knowledge of low angle terrain best suited for mounted search techniques.  Ability to handle a mount in a variety of terrain conditions such as narrow trails, loose rocks and gravel, heavy vegetation, and steep grades.
  • Ability to provide emergency medical treatment as a first responder.
  • Knowledge of the procedures for Body Substance Isolation (BSI), and the precautions required to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
  • Knowledge of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and its appropriate use in search, rescue, and recovery operations.
  • Knowledge of situational awareness fundamentals including personal equipment, essential rescue equipment, equine support equipment and supplies, and general all-risk hazards.
  • Advanced knowledge of search operations and techniques, including area sectoring, search patterns, victim location clues, hazard awareness, weather implications, search team organization and operating procedures.
  • Advanced knowledge of the technical aspects of search theory, including map, compass, and GPS techniques.
  • Ability to accurately sketch a search area, and to apply and interpret search area making techniques for perimeters, alert areas, hazards, etc.
  • Knowledge of the proper use and field maintenance of search and communication equipment.

Supervisory Controls

Work direction is provided by the Search Team Leader or other designated supervisor who makes assignments by defining objectives and priorities.  The search work is performed independently as a mounted member of a search team or other all-risk operational team.  Work is reviewed for acceptability and compliance with operating instructions and procedures.


Procedures for doing the work have been established and a number of specific guidelines or standard orders are available such as oral instructions, standard operating procedures, maps, instruction manuals, and health and safety codes and specific park information.  Occasional problems may not be specifically covered by guidelines.

The incumbent uses independent judgment in locating and selecting the most appropriate guidelines, references and procedures based on the situation at hand, and individual park rules and regulations.


The incumbent works in a wide variety of functional areas which require diverse skills, often involving critical lifesaving situations such as search and rescue, emergency medical and aviation incidents.  Emergency response often involves decision-making and action in extremely adverse physical and emotional conditions and ability to function effectively in controversial and/or sensitive situations.  Work requires application and modification of established practices in most areas of responsibility, with considerable individual discretion and judgment exercised in emergency situations.

Scope and Effect

The purpose of this position is to participate in search and rescue operations, to implement incident objectives for a safe operation, and to work for short to extended periods of time when looking for clues or lost subjects during multiple operational period incidents.

The effectiveness and timeliness of the Search Team Member’s decisions and actions impact the safety and efficiency of the operation and success of the mission.

Personal Contacts

Personal contacts are with the local agency search and rescue team personnel, and/or incident management team personnel during the duration of the incident.  Additional contacts may be made with media operations, family members, special interest groups, and others interested and assisting with the incident.

Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of contacts is to obtain briefings and orders, as well as to relay incident information to and from the incident management team and other team members, and to provide general and specific information and assistance.

Physical Demands

Work routinely involves physically rigorous assignments and strenuous activity.  Incumbent must maintain excellent physical condition to carry out responsibilities, including the ability to hike and climb in mountainous and desert terrain, to perform lengthy search, rescue and recovery missions, to perform assignments in remote areas of hazardous terrain, accessible by foot or on horseback, and in all weather conditions.  These routine and emergency situations often require clear reasoning and decisive action under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress.

Work Environment

Work environment is predominately outdoors in all types of terrain conditions, night or day, including inclement weather, and for prolonged periods of time.  Travel may be by foot, ski, snowshoe, vehicle, aircraft or boat.  The incumbent is subject to cold, hot, windy, wet, or snowy conditions for several days at a time.  Working elevations range from below sea level to above 10,000 feet.


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