Professionally trained volunteers are a critical resource for the search and rescue of lost and missing persons in the United States. Law enforcement and emergency management personnel, particularly at the local level, may not have the resources to conduct a search alone. And while they provide the critical command and coordinating functions during a search, they may not be able to put enough search teams in the field, or traverse much of the difficult terrain, without specially trained volunteers. Moreover, much of their efforts must now be devoted to homeland security, hazardous materials and disaster response.
There are thousands of lost and missing persons incidents reported every year in the US. These include lost and abducted children, missing outdoor enthusiasts, Alzheimer patients, boaters, downed aircraft and others.