MISSION STATEMENT: Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team, Inc. (NFSAR) is committed to providing Western New York and surrounding regions with an organization of trained volunteers dedicated to rural and wilderness land search and rescue operations as a public service.

NFSAR is an all-volunteer FEMA Type III Wilderness Search and Rescue Team located in Western NY and is tied to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for purposes of dispatch and activation. The team’s more than 40 volunteer members are trained to search for lost or missing persons in wilderness environments. We accomplish this using skills learned through extensive classroom education and field training. The Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team has a regional territory covering the eight counties of Western New York.

On New York State land, the Department of Environmental Conservation and its staff of Forest Rangers is the responsible government agency for search and rescue. On other suburban and rural land, SAR is coordinated by the local responsible law enforcement agency. Requests for NFSAR resources for rural or wilderness search are made under the authority of either the Forest Rangers or the appropriate public safety entity.

A search activation is received by an NFSAR officer who then activates the Team. Members regularly respond from around the Western New York region to SAR events in Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegheny, Wyoming, Genesee, and Orleans counties. Additionally, the team will respond as requested to participate in land search efforts throughout all of New York State when requested by the NYS Federation of Search and Rescue Teams or the NYS DEC Forest Rangers.

NFSAR is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not charge for its services. Our members donate their time (and provide virtually all of their own personal SAR gear) to train, respond to search activations, and educate the public on outdoor safety. NFSAR members utilize the latest technologies available, including digital 2-way radios, handheld global positioning systems (GPS), electronic navigation mapping software, and search management software.

The Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team receives no dedicated funding – instead, it relies on donations from individuals, foundations, business corporations, fundraising, and grants. If you have previously donated to NFSAR, we sincerely thank you for your support. If you would like to make a donation, please go to our Donate page to learn more.

The team is dedicated to saving lives and educating the public on Wilderness Safety and prides itself on having a reputation for wilderness search and rescue skills and search safety. All members of the Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team are required to successfully complete the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Basic Wildland Search Course prior to being designated as having “Active” status. Building on the Basic Wildland Search Course we conduct monthly training which includes topics such as:

  • The FEMA Incident Command System
  • Backcountry Navigation with map/compass/GPS
  • Hasty Search Techniques
  • Thorough Search Techniques
  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Clue and Crime Scene Awareness
  • Helicopter Operations
  • Radios and Communications

Members regularly participate in year-round training activities that provide opportunities for evaluating and improving personal outdoor physical conditioning in all environmental conditions. Many members also complete nationally-recognized National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) SARTECH II or SARTECH III certification, NYS DEC Crew Boss/Searcher I certification, and NYS Rescue Technician – Basic Course certification for training in low-angle rescue/evacuation.