FEMA and other search and rescue organizations utilize a series of markings to indicate where they have been, the status of where they have been and any dangers associated with an area or structure.
You should know before a survival situation strikes what those markings are.
Instructions for an INSARAG Marking
To start an INSARAG marking, you make a 1 X 1 meter square box (roughly 3’ by 3’) with spray paint near the front door or entry point.
If the building is safe to enter, mark inside the box with “GO”, otherwise “NO GO.”
Write the team name and start time below that inside the box.
Write the finish time of the inspection inside the box.
Hazard information goes above the box and missing persons (if known) below the box.
Live victims removed go left of the box and dead victims go to the right.
When the search and inspection is complete, put a circle around all the information.
When the team is certain there are no more victims, place a horizontal line through the circle and box.
What INSARAG Markings Mean for Preppers
You can read these markings if you know what the different positions mean. You could know if an area has been searched, and specific numbers of people and victims evacuated. You could learn who is doing the searches and even how long it takes them to do one. The interesting thing about any search and rescue marking is that once you know how to read them, you could also choose to write them in extreme situations.
Marking your home with the appropriate search and rescue marking depending on the circumstance could help you avoid encounters and ‘hide in plain sight’.
Which Search and Rescue Marking to Choose
There are two types of search and rescue marking to use, and it is best to know both types. Their use is split up by geography pretty well, with the FEMA markings being used in the US. INSARAG markings are used in the rest of the NATO nations.
Traveling through a survival aftermath area can be tricky and dangerous; learning from those who traversed it before you can help you avoid serious hazards and obstacles.
You must learn these markings and commit them to memory; or better yet, write them down in a notebook!
To learn more about Search and Rescue symbols and techniques, please visit True Prepper.
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