West Virginia Search and Rescue Program

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management provides coordination for search and rescue efforts through our 24/7 hotlines. While most searches are conducted on a local basis and the missing subjects found in a short time, some incidents cannot be handled within the local agency's response capability. The agency works with local emergency managers to provide resource support when additional resources and coordination are required to enhance the local effort to find the missing person(s). DHSEM works in support of the West Virginia Search and Rescue Council to provide training coordination, certification, and emerging SAR techniques and technology use and acquisition.  
How to Report a Missing Person

Citizens should call local law enforcement or 911 and provide as much information as possible. Taking a few minutes to answer all questions will pay off with speedier recoveries. Cooperate as much as possible with law enforcement. Local law enforcement will contact local emergency management offices and DHSEM Search and Rescue at 304-558-5380.

Safety Tips

Citizens should always tell someone where they are going, their itenary, what you are wearing, a description of the vehicle you will be traveling in, and what gear you are taking with you. You should always take sufficient gear for the duration of the trip. Hikers should always check their back trail, so it is familiar if return is neccessary and use trailnotes in major wilderness areas. If you become lost or confused, stop and think.You may backtrack if possible, and trust your compass. Do not travel more than a short distance, if you do not know where you are going. You should build a shelter, keep warm, and make noise so SAR teams may find you. 

Essential Gear

  • Matches or a butane lighter in waterproof containers
  • Maps and compass (and experience with using them)
  • Extra clothing (dress in dry layers)
  • Water
  • Space blanket
  • Cordage
  • Whistle
  • First Aid Kit and Medications
  • Headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries