Introduction to MBSAR

MBSAR Operators are able to work both on foot and on bikes in varied terrain

MBSAR is an acronym for Mountain Bike Search and Rescue.

Search and Rescue (SAR) is an activity undertaken by teams of trained operators where time is a factor. The activity itself falls into at least 4 distinct operational phases and a mountain bike could prove useful in some if not all these four phases.

However, operators should be aware of their individual responsibilities first and should be capable of foot operations as well as any deployment functions as a part of a "Bike Team."

The MBSAR course and standard also aids the SAR Teams in using the Mountain Bike Team as a part of other SAR mechanisms such as Support, Transport / Logistics or Command functions.  The course covers both foot and mounted (bike) operations and there are several practicals as well as a written test. 

Upon successful completion of the course graduates come away with tests skills, knowledge, written / printed materials and badge.

If taking the advanced levels - the course is good for trained and experienced SAR operators who wish to deploy on Mountain Bikes in areas of wilderness and urbanised populated areas – however experience or previous SAR training is NOT compulsory.  The Level two can be done in 2 to 3 days and covers Mountain Biking AND Search and Rescue - and it is a lot of fun whilst learning a great deal. Be warned... they are full days!

We do realise that time and budgets are often tight so we have condensed this intensive course into a 3 days or so of training. [Pre-course reading and preparation is advised.]

Mountain Bike Search and Rescue (MBSAR) could be a useful and effective way of deploying trained SAR personnel in certain types of operational call outs.  We shall teach you how to decide and risk assess such situations and how to plan for such deployments accordingly.  Also, the effective use of Mountain Bikes in Search and Rescue is a great asset not only in general SAR Operations but also in many complementary and support functions.  We shall explore these during the course.

You could argue that MBSAR is as easy as riding and looking.  Surely if you can ride a bike, then you can do a search on a bike?  However the ineffective use of Mountain Bikes could also considerably hamper a deployment and even endanger the operator/s if the appropriate training and equipment is not there.  

Imagine using an inappropriate bike with an unfit member who eagerly rides off to search for a missing person but ends up getting hit by an oncoming vehicle because they were not watching where they were going nor competent and trained for the task!     

Some teams work in very urbanise enviornments like towns and cities and their deployments maybe 70% flat road and 30% rural. Other teams it may be the exact opposite with mostly woodland riding and through fields and farms and over very unulating and hilly or mountainous terrain.  The course specifically covers riding in all terrains as the Mountain Bike SAR Operator must be able to work in their 'local' environment and make educated decisions in the use of Mountain Bikes for SAR given the terrain, time of day, time of year, weather, etc. and hope to best use the MBSAR units to the best benefit.
Similarly, the use of their kit and equipment is important.  Should all the kit be carried in panniers on the bike (allowing a lowered centre of gravity but a delay in the speed of response should a quick dismount be required in grabbing all the stuff that is worn on the belt or the lifting the bike regularly over farmers gates etc.  However, wearing the rucksack allows for a 'recon' response for rescuers and medics of rapid change to 'footmode' etc, but raises the centre of gravity and adds weight to the rider (instead of the bike.) And remember, if you do wear a rucksack you should have visiable like the high-vis kacket you wear, so that you are very visable. (You can buy or adapt high-vis rainproof / waterproof ruck sack covers.)
But either way, the course allows you to make those informed choices and adapt the situation to your particular team or environment accordinly.