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The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the agency responsible for conducting search and rescue missions within the woodlands and inland waterways throughout New Hampshire.
Fish and Game's Specialized Search and Rescue Team is part of the Department's Law Enforcement Division. The team consists of 16 specially trained and skilled Conservation Officers who respond to numerous diverse calls for search and rescue assistance throughout the state.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department conducts an average of 145 search and rescue missions annually for victims ranging from hikers, climbers, OHRV operators, children, elderly persons (Alzheimer’s and dementia patients) and subjects of suicide. Fish and Game is assisted in its search and rescue missions by many professional volunteer search and rescue organizations throughout the state. We are greatly appreciative of these considerable efforts. To see a listing of participating organizations, go to www.nhoutdoorcouncil.org.
Basic funding for Search and Rescue efforts comes from a $1 fee on every boat, OHRV, and ATV registration; these fees are deposited into the Search and Rescue account. Click here for FAQs on search and rescue funding.
Specialized Search and Rescue Team members must meet specific physical agility testing requirements and continually receive specialized training related to conducting search and rescue missions during severe winter weather or adverse and hazardous conditions throughout the year. Team members are trained as Nationally Registered First Responders, with one member at the Paramedic EMS level. Team members are technically skilled in Avalanche Terrain Navigation and Search methods, High Angle Technical Rope (rock and ice) techniques, Winter Alpine Mountaineering skills, Backcountry Survival, Enhanced Land Navigation and GPS documentation, search tactics and Search and Rescue team leadership abilities.
Thanks to the vision and determination of Lt. Richard A. Estes, this specialized team was officially established in 1996, so that trained Conservation Officers could augment the search and rescue abilities of the highly trained volunteer search and rescue organizations that routinely assisted in fulfilling Fish and Game's search andrescue responsibilities.
Conservation Officers work to prevent the need for search and rescue missions by raising awareness of safe hiking principles through the hikeSafe Program. An informative website and presentations given at schools, groups and civic organizations help promote these principles. For ore information on this important outdoor safety program and how to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors, visit www.hikesafe.com.