Search Overhead Team

The Search Overhead Team members are highly trained in the most current and effective search management techniques. Usually at least two qualified search managers are deployed for each operational period and they work closely with the incident commander to manage and plan an active search including interfacing and guiding the specialty teams being utilized.

Functioning within the ICS Command Management System, search overhead team members are used in various positions:

Operations Section:

Operations Section Chief (OSC):  The OSC is responsible for managing the current operational period plan execution and resources.  The OSC may have additional staff to assign for activities such as staging of arriving resources. Some of the tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Obtain initial briefing from Incident Commander.
  • Using the Ops Plan for this operational period and resources currently checked-in, assigning team resources to configure the Strike Teams or Task Force Teams.
  • Brief all teams all information including type of search in respective areas and communications. (ICS-204)
  • Maintain surveillance of the team progression and clues found.
  • Interface with PSC on field updates and progression that may impact future planning.
  • Maintain Safety awareness through the operation of field teams.
  • As teams return, conduct team de-briefings and provide information to the PSC.
  • During the operation meet with the PSC to determine resource types and numbers needed for the next Operational Period.

Planning Section:

Planning Section Chief (PSC): The Planning Activities occur at the same time an operation using the previous plan is in progress.  The PSC is responsible for assembling information from investigations, previous search progress and results, weather, other safety factors to create an Operational Plan for the next operational period.  This includes, but is not limited to the following tasks:

  • Obtain initial briefing from Incident Commander.
  • Assign a person responsible for Resource Check-In.
  • Get information on current and future weather and other safety information.
  • Meet with IC and OSC and determine recommendations and suggestions for next operation period search plans.
  • Develop Search Plan for next Operational Period.
  • Using input from OSC, develop tactical Plan.
  • Identify and order resources for next operational period.
  • Produce ICS-204s with Operational Plan and review with next OCS.

While the OCS is usually located in the forward Command Post Trailer, the PSC may be located there or use the Mobile Command Center Trailer or both.