What is BSAR?
Bush search and rescue (BSAR) in Australia is a free service funded by the government and provided by volunteers. It is available to all hikers, regardless of their experience level or the location of their hike. There are a number of different bush search and rescue organisations in Australia, each with their own specific areas of expertise. For example, the State Emergency Service (SES) Bush Search and Rescue team is responsible for land-based search and rescue operations, while the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard is responsible for sea-based search and rescue operations.
If you need bush search and rescue assistance, you should call 000 and ask for police. The police will coordinate the search and rescue response, which may involve one or more of the organisations listed above. Bush search and rescue operations can be complex and challenging, and they can be expensive. However, the Australian government and state governments are committed to providing this essential service to all hikers. In addition to the government funding, bush search and rescue volunteers also raise money through fundraising events and donations. This money is used to cover the costs of equipment, training, and other expenses associated with search and rescue operations.
Bush search and rescue volunteers are highly trained and experienced professionals. They are skilled in navigation, search techniques, and wilderness survival. They are also equipped with the latest technology, including search aircraft, drones, and GPS devices.
If you are planning to hike in Australia, it is important to be aware of the bush search and rescue system. It’s also important you help to reduce the risk of needing search and rescue assistance. And if you do need help, you can be confident that a team of highly trained and experienced volunteers will be there to assist you.
Bush Search and Rescue in Australia: A Guide for Everyone
Bush search and rescue (BSAR) is a vital service in Australia, helping to save lives and protect people in the wilderness. BSAR teams are made up of highly trained and experienced volunteers who are skilled in navigation, search techniques, and wilderness survival.
Who is covered by BSAR?
BSAR is available to everyone in Australia, regardless of their nationality or residency status. This includes international travelers, tourists, and bushwalkers of all experience levels.
What does BSAR cover?
BSAR covers a wide range of search and rescue operations in bush and alpine areas, including:
- Searching for missing persons
- Rescuing injured or ill persons
- Providing assistance to persons lost or disoriented
- Responding to natural disasters and other emergencies
How much does BSAR cost?
BSAR is a free service in Australia. The government funds BSAR operations through a number of different sources, including the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the State Emergency Services (SES), the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Bush search and rescue is a vital service that saves lives but it is not free to the Australian economy. For example, the average cost of extraction via helicopter is around $5,000 per hour. However, the actual cost can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The type of helicopter used
- The distance to the pickup and drop-off locations
- The weather conditions
- The urgency of the situation
For example, a rescue operation in a remote location or in bad weather conditions will be more expensive than a rescue operation in a populated area or in good weather conditions. In Australia, the government typically covers the cost of helicopter evacuations in medical emergencies. If you are planning to hike in a remote area or if you are concerned about the cost of a helicopter evacuation, you may want to consider purchasing ambulance cover and private health insurance or travel insurance that includes ambulance cover.
Ambulance cover and insurance
If you are planning to hike a remote trail, or if you are inexperienced, it is important to have ambulance cover. This is because you may need to be airlifted to hospital if you have an accident or become ill.
Helicopter evacuations are expensive, and the government does not always cover the cost. People who are injured or become ill in non-emergency situations may be responsible for paying the cost of their helicopter evacuation. So having ambulance cover can help to protect you financially. Even if you are hiking a popular trail and you are experienced, it is still a good idea to have ambulance cover. This is because accidents can happen to anyone, and you may need to be rescued by search and rescue teams.
If you are planning to hike in a remote area, it is important to be aware of the possibility that you may need to pay for a helicopter evacuation. It is also a good idea to have ambulance cover, as this can help to protect you financially in the event of an accident. If you are unsure whether or not you need ambulance cover for hiking, it is always best to err on the side of caution and take out a policy. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you are financially protected in the event of an accident.
What should I do if I need BSAR assistance?
If you need BSAR assistance, you should call 000 and ask for police. If your life is in eminent danger, activate your PLB. The police will coordinate the search and rescue response, which may involve one or more of the organisations listed above. It’s also important to prepare yourself to signal for help. If you ever find yourself needing help, knowing the different ways you can signal for help and choosing the most appropriate ones for the circumstances can be the difference between life and death.
How can I stay safe in the bush?
There are a number of things you can do to stay safe in the bush and reduce the risk of needing BSAR assistance, including:
- Plan your trip carefully
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back
- Be aware of your surroundings and the potential hazards in the area
- Take breaks regularly
- Carry plenty of water and stay hydrated
- Be prepared for bad weather
- Carry a map and compass, and know how to use them
- Carry a personal locator beacon (PLB) and/or satellite communicator so you can signal for help if needed
Tips for international travelers
International travelers should be aware that they may be responsible for the cost of any medical treatment they receive in Australia. This is because Medicare, the Australian government’s universal healthcare system, is only available to Australian citizens and permanent residents. International travelers can purchase private health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment in Australia. There are a number of different private health insurers that offer policies specifically for international travelers. It is important to purchase private health insurance before you travel to Australia, as you will not be able to purchase it once you arrive in the country.
How to support BSAR
BSAR is a volunteer-based service, so your support is essential. There are a number of ways you can support BSAR, including:
- Donating to a BSAR organisation
- Volunteering with a BSAR organisation
- Spreading the word about BSAR and encouraging others to support it
Bush search and rescue is a vital service in Australia that saves lives and protects people in the wilderness. BSAR is available to everyone, regardless of their nationality or residency status. If you are planning to hike in the bush, it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to stay safe. You should also be aware of the BSAR service and how to access it if needed. By following these tips, you can help to reduce the risk of needing BSAR assistance and support this essential service.
Images of SES volunteers and FRS firefighters training courtesy of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.