A Hasty Team search will usually consist of ten to twelve highly trained searchers. This team will be dropped into a virgin search area and will quickly spread out in pairs or small teams of three to four searchers looking for clues or the lost person in obvious places. The goal of a hasty team is to move quickly through the search area, almost at a slow jog to check cliffs, wells, tangle hazards, caves, ditches, etc. where a person might be injured or might have stopped to rest. If a lost person is conscious, even if they are injured and unable to move, the hasty team should detect them as they pass through the area. They members of a hasty team are not directed to move along a certain path or in a given direction. They are usually given free reign over how they move through the territory. They might spend a few minutes checking an old barn, but move at almost a run across an open field. The idea is to cover the ground. This is why it is so important to use trained searchers, because they are usually much more in tuned with what clues to look for and how to quickly spot footprints, broken branches (tracking signs), etc.
The purpose of the hasty team is to bring a rapid end to a search. By putting a well trained team into a high probability area, the search leaders are hoping to find the victim with a quick pass. If the person is truly just wandering around in the woods, then the hasty team will find them and bring the search to an end.
The expected probability of detection for a hasty team may vary somewhat based on the skill level of the team members and the ruggedness of the search area. However, for a well trained team, search leaders might expect a probability of detection of 30-40% for a hasty team. Meaning, if the hasty team comes back empty, then there is a 30-40% chance that the victim isn’t there. However, it may be a 70% chance that a conscious and uninjured victim isn’t there.
The key considerations for a hasty team include moving quickly, searching all likely places while looking for clues and signs and communicating with other team members. In a hasty team search, it is very easy to get separated from the rest of your team, so communication is vital. We usually paired up hasty team members so they could support each other in the field. They didn’t have to stay side-by-side, but at least within sight of each other and in constant contact.