Search and Rescue (SAR) and Emergency Management (EM) are critical functions that require a skilled and dedicated workforce to look for the lost, rescue those in need, and respond to disasters. With the increasing number of disaster events globally, there is a growing need for succession planning and the development of the future workforce to ensure the sustainability of these functions.
Investing in youth development is a long-term strategy that can help address this need. Youth bring with them digital literacy, critical and conceptualized thinking, innovation, diversity, and altruism that can be invaluable in SAR and EM. Through youth development programs, they can be trained and equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to these critical functions.
The Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) is an excellent example of a youth development program that focuses on SAR and EM within New Zealand. YSAR utilizes active SAR and EM members and innovative technology and tools, to train youth and provide them with hands-on experience in the field. Remote piloted aeronautical systems (RPAS), forward-looking infrared (FLIR) heat source analysis, robotics, computer-generated algorithms of Orth mosaics, digital mapping, GIS intelligence, Point of Interest (POI) mapping for response preplanning, rapid deployment transportation such as UBCO all-terrain bikes, live asset tracking, and field asset to cloud intelligence in real-time (field force intelligence) are just a few examples of the cutting-edge technologies that YSAR incorporates into its training curriculum.
Investing in youth development is a long-term strategy that requires commitment and resources. However, the benefits are significant. By investing in youth development, we can significantly plan what the future capability looks like and ensure that we have a skilled and dedicated workforce to respond to SAR and EM needs. It is encouraging to see the SAR and EM sector recognizing the importance of youth development and supporting YSAR scaling strategies throughout New Zealand.
YSAR students graduate the program with field-ready skills, making them valuable assets to the SAR and EM sector organizations. Investing in youth development is critical to ensuring that we have a sustainable workforce to respond to the growing number of disasters and emergencies that we face in the future. Through partnerships with leading-edge technology and innovation companies, we can keep our eyes on the horizon of emerging technology and ensure that our future workforce is equipped with the necessary skills to adapt and respond to changing needs.
Steve Campbell – GM YSAR Trust
Learning to Survive, Thrive and Save Lives