Think of your worst day.
Everyone has them. The death of a family member comes very high on the list, as does personal injury.
Many SAR incidents are the worst day for the friends and family of people we search for – and sometimes for the subjects themselves.
I’ve searched for many people over the past 15 years who’ve committed suicide. They are the worst searches; difficult because someone who is not responsive can’t let you know where they are, sad because you often know the outcome, and they are especially hard for the friends and family who are dealing with the grief of losing someone close without the closure of knowing what happened to them.
If you stay involved in SAR, unfortunately these days happen regularly.
Being a first responder on someone else’s worse day doesn’t really compare to what the individual themselves (or their family and loved ones) is going through, but we’re part of it.
We’re there to search. Sometimes we’re there to explain why we can’t find anything. And sometimes we’re on the other end of a phone while someone sobs uncontrollably.