The PRSAR Newsletter!

Some Updates on the great volunteers at PRSAR

PRSAR Flying Drones in the Florida State CURSE Exercise

It was a very warm June morning with projected high temperatures in the 90s and a feels like 107F, the PRSAR RPV/Drone team sets up command for a long day. This day UAV/drone teams from across the Southeastern USA would do their best to work together to fulfill their missions after a simulated Hurricane disaster. It would be a daunting task and the exercise was named CURSE 2023.


CURSE seems like an odd name for such an exercise but it stands for Catastrophic UAV Remote Sensing Exercise. Over one hundred drones and their pilots would be coordinated through the state of Florida Emergency Operations Command Center (EOCC). Pilots flying in CURSE would perform flights to gather data to assist in making structural damage assessments, flying through buildings, structural video imagery, mapping missions, and lost/person recovery. Once the data is collected it must be processed into a specified product and transferred to the EOCC in Tallahassee. In order to complete the missions the team would need to precisely manage resources and the drone batteries.

The mission started as expected. but as the day wore on a lot of variables started coming into play. Altitudes, image overlaps, and battery life all have to be considered before the drone even leaves the launch pad. That day was a hot one with heat factors over 115F. This would greatly effect the flight times of the drones. As we learned there is a heat rating on the DJI drone and when its over 109F the drones will fail. We lost one of our advanced drones due to an inflight heat emergency. The Drone reported the battery was overheating and did an emergency landing. We searched for several days looking for that drone but I am sad to report we never found it!


Other challenges were the large amount of data (images and video) we had to send over the cell towers to Tallahassee EOC. These data packets were large and we fried our Wifi unit in the Command trailer and were forced to use other means to get the data out.


Needless to say, the After Action Report (AAR) was interesting, but we learned a lot, upgraded some systems, and were able to replace the drone that was lost so all in all it was a great experience.


For more information on the PRSAR Robotics team please visit RPV Team

PRSAR Legacy K9's

The Legend of Eli


Written by Jen Thompson, Elis' owner and handler

I am not sure what to say about this amazing beast of a working dog that has been entrusted to me. Eli von Telos Aka... E, Eli, Freight Train, Crazy Train, or just my love and protector. He is now 8 years old and how much more time I have left working with him is to be determined by him but if I could have another lifetime I would gladly take it. He came to me at 9 months old a black male German Shepherd that was supposed to be a female sable German Shepherd... lol You don't always get what you want but you get what you need and Eli was and continues to be everything I need. At 9 months he took to tracking and cadaver work immediately, he made me look like I was a great trainer/ handler. He was certified in both Live Find and HRD before he was 18 months old. He has taken me on a life adventure that I could only have dreamed of. He has taken me to multiple states and other countries on our commitment to the job. He has multiple confirmed finds and has given many families peace of mind and closure. At 4 years old he sustained an almost career-ending injury but due to the skills of Dr. Rose at the Surgery Center of Sarasota, he was able to come back to the work he loves. The outpouring of community support for Eli will forever make me grateful and thankful. Eli will work until the day he says he's done then will retire to a life of luxury keeping his couch from floating away.  

Happy smiling female jogging by the mounting range path with her beagle dog. Canicross running healthy lifestyle concept image.

Physical Fitness is as Important for Dogs as it is for People.


A recently released study that followed 150 SAR dogs for 15 years had some interesting results. The study showed that most common medical events observed in SAR dogs in­volve the musculoskeletal, integumentary, and gas­trointestinal systems, with inflammatory, degen­erative, and traumatic conditions being the most frequently reported. The main takeaway was that Improving your dog’s fitness and health can increase their musculoskeletal lifespan and limit vet visits as they age. It reduces their risk of work-related injury, joint problems, and arthritis.


Canines that maintain good physical health tend to live longer lives. Regular exercise keeps their cardiovascular system robust, reducing the risk of heart-related issues. This simple investment in playtime can significantly extend your dog’s life and quality.


As dogs age, just like humans, they become susceptible to joint problems and arthritis. Regular movement and exercise help maintain joint flexibility. It’s a preventive measure that can save your dog from discomfort in their golden years.


Beyond the physical benefits, a fit dog is a mentally healthy dog. Regular exercise not only burns off excess energy but also stimulates their minds. Mental stimulation is crucial for preventing boredom and destructive behaviors. A stimulated dog is less likely to engage in undesirable activities like chewing furniture or excessive barking.


Moreover, a well-conditioned dog tends to be more adaptable and sociable. Socializing during walks or playtime in the park exposes them to various environments, people, and other dogs. This helps build their confidence and reduces the likelihood of behavioral issues.


An often overlooked aspect is weight management. Due to our poor-quality food chain, obesity is a prevalent issue in humans but also among dogs, leading to a myriad of health problems. Regular exercise and a balanced quality diet are key to maintaining an optimal weight for your dog. It’s a proactive approach to prevent obesity-related conditions like diabetes and joint stress.



Incorporating fitness into your dog’s routine doesn’t require elaborate equipment. Simple activities like brisk walks, fetching, or agility games can do wonders. Tailoring the exercise routine to your dog’s breed, age, and health status ensures it’s both enjoyable and safe.

As a responsible dog owner, prioritize your dog’s fitness and schedule regular play sessions, or walks.


Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. Their overall well-being is in your hands!


To summarize, canine fitness is a simple and easy approach to ensure your dog’s health and happiness. The benefits range from physical well-being and injury prevention to mental stimulation and social adaptability. By investing time in your dog’s fitness, you’re not just extending their life; you’re enhancing the quality of the years they have. Enjoy this time with your companion.,

teenage girl running fun with her dog on a treadmill at home due to quarantine

What is the FAST Team?

One of the most frequent questions we get at PRSAR is what is the FAST team all about. It really is quite simple. FAST stands for Forensic Applied Science and Technology. It is a special network of experts from different fields such as Anthropology, Botany, Ancestry Geneology, Crime Scene Investigation, and Blood Stain patterns. These experts donate their time to review and offer assistance in moving missing persons/cold cases forward.


This network of experts is supported by one of the finest field teams in the world. These Search professionals are highly trained and skilled in all things SAR and Forensics to quickly search and assist.


Our Drone unit supplies specialized photography with sensors using FLIR, Near Infrared, and LIDAR. The K9 teams that assist on these missions receive advanced training in search techniques far beyond what a normal SAR team receives. They are exceptional and very reliable in performance.


To learn more about the FAST team, please visit our website at www.prsar.org/fasteam


Help Us Continue Our Mission When Using PayPal!

Recently PRSAR was approved as a preferred charity on PayPal! This enables us to be listed on the PayPal app and available to be set as a favorite charity to receive Micro-donations when you make purchases at checkout. How does this work? There are two ways to set PRSAR as your favorite charity. You can find us on the PayPal Giving Fund website and click the heart icon on our page, or you can use the PayPal app on your phone, With the phone app, go to payments, then to Give and set PRSAR as your favorite charity. When you checkout using PayPal you will get the chance to add $1 to your purchase and that money comes to us! This is a simple and great way to support your favorite Nonprofit! Thank you for your giving!

About Heat and Horses


The scorching summer heat is here, and it's crucial to prioritize the well-being of our four-legged companions. To ensure your horses stay happy and healthy during extreme temperatures, here are some essential tips to keep in mind.


1. Hydration is Key: Just like us, horses need plenty of water to stay hydrated. Provide clean, fresh water at all times, and consider adding electrolytes to their diet to replenish lost minerals.


2. Shade and Shelter: Create shaded areas in the pasture or paddock where horses can escape the direct sunlight. Ample shade and access to well-ventilated shelters are essential to protect them from heatstroke or sunburn.


3. Adjust Exercise Routine: During scorching days, it's best to limit strenuous activities and adjust your riding schedule. Plan rides during cooler times of the day, such as early mornings or evenings, when temperatures are milder.


4. Cooling Techniques: Help your horses cool down by misting them with water or using fans in their stalls or barns. If possible, set up a sprinkler system in the pasture to provide relief from the heat.


5. Manage Grazing: Monitor grazing time to prevent horses from overexerting themselves in the heat. Consider grazing them during cooler hours and providing hay in shady areas to reduce their heat exposure.


6. Fly Control: Flies and other insects can aggravate horses during hot weather. Implement effective fly control measures such as fly masks, fly sheets, and fly repellents to keep them comfortable.


7. Monitor Vital Signs: Regularly check your horse's temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. If you notice any abnormal signs or symptoms of heat stress, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Remember, horses rely on us to keep them safe and comfortable in extreme heat. By following these essential tips, you can ensure your equine friends beat the heat and enjoy a healthy summer season.


Horse portrait in spray of water. Horse shower at the stable

The Use of Cadaver K9 for Archeology


Cadaver dogs, also known as human remains detection dogs, have been used for years in law enforcement to locate deceased individuals. However, these highly trained canines are also used in historical investigations to uncover long-buried remains and artifacts. With their acute sense of smell, cadaver dogs can detect traces of human remains that may have been hidden for decades or centuries. This makes them an invaluable tool in uncovering past mysteries and shedding light on historical events. Cadaver dogs are proving to be a crucial asset in historical research and investigations, as they help search for missing soldiers and uncover long-forgotten gravesites.


PRSAR K9s have worked in this field for nearly 15 years and have helped locate graves dating back to the Paleo period. But the age of the grave is not the biggest factor, it's the context of the internment. The soil, the bacteria, the health of the individual, moisture levels, and burial preparations all contribute to the odor profile for the K9 and the condition the remains are in. The Handlers must be trained in forensic anthropology to some degree as well as crime scene preservation so they do not disturb the site. Lastly, mapping skills so the record can be made. But before bringing in any cadaver K9 team, make sure you are getting qualified support. Some things to consider:


1) How long has this team been in existence

2) So they have references and letters of recommendation

3) Do they have Mapping skills and can they produce tracking information and maps in GIS or other accepted formats.

4) Has the team been certified by a recognized agency?



PRSAR maintains an excellent group that is ready to assist with Historical searches. If you have a need please stop by our website at www.prsar.org or email us a prsark9pio@gmail.com.

girl with a toller dog in the mountains. Autumn mood. Traveling with a pet. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

What is Ground Penetrating Radar?

Most people think of radar as locating aircraft, thunderstorms, ships, and vehicles, but radar is also used to detect objects underground. Ground penetrating radar, otherwise known as GPR, is a geophysical method of locating and measuring things in the subsurface. Similar to the above-ground radar systems, it works by sending pulses of electromagnetic energy into the target area and measuring the changes in the reflections of energy pulses to determine the location and depth of the target object. The whole system generates feedback by measuring the responses from energy pulses and displaying them on screen in the form of arch-shaped images called hyperbola/parabola, disturbances, or layers. With a hyperbola, an important distinction is that pulses travel into the ground in a cone shape, which is why readings are displayed in arches on the screen. The lower points in the hyperbola are when the target is either in front of or behind the antenna and, therefore, further away. The highest point in the hyperbola is

when the object is closest or directly below the center of the antenna.


There is an additional correlation between the uniformity of the soil and the clarity of the radar image produced through post-processing. Usable 3D presentations usually require that data is collected on a much denser grid than necessary with 2D data. In many cases, the number of survey lines is doubled or quadrupled. For these reasons, 3D data tends to be used more often on smaller-scale surveys than large-scale ground surveys.

One of the most significant variables in GPR accuracy is the antenna frequency used. Ground penetrating radar systems operate in the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the systems can range between 100MHz to 2000Mhz. The frequency used depends on the field conditions you’re surveying in, the type of target object you’re locating, and its depth. This means it’s crucial to implement a solution that matches your intended use cases to maximize accuracy.


Generally speaking, the higher the frequency, the greater your clarity. Higher frequencies provide much higher-resolution imaging, showing more precise information about the objects in the subsurface. The downside is that these higher frequencies dissipate much quicker and don’t go very deep — often only a few feet or meters.


For example, a frequency of 1000 MHz can only penetrate about six feet/two meters into a material, such as dry sand. Conversely, this same frequency can only reach about six inches/ fifteen centimeters in wet clay. This is due to the properties of wet clay that cause a spreading of the radar pulse. The more water, the worse the image.


In the same scenario, a lower frequency antenna, such as 100MHz, can transmit 100 feet/30 meters or more in dry sand while only reaching 40 feet/12 meters in wet clay. In this scenario, however, the lower frequencies will have a lower resolution, and detecting large objects will only be possible. In the case of deep objects detected by a 100 MHz antenna, a minimum target size of 15cm is not unrealistic. Also, while the accuracy of the depth and location of the object is still high, the details are much less so.

In recent years we have seen the advent of 3D imaging come into GPR. But like with anything related to GPR data, 3D imaging does not image the detailed outline of an object, but it can help illustrate the general length, width, and trajectory of a target or anomaly. This is particularly helpful when sharing data with others. This will allow them to easily visualize and comprehend your findings.


So if you have a project coming up that might require GPR, here are some things to consider:


1) The soil type and the object being searched for

2) The antenna frequency and software used.

3) The data output expected, real-time, or processed. If multiple targets are expected, 3D image output might be best.

4) The skill and competency of the GPR operator.

5) The area may need to be prepared for smooth rolling operation. Bumpy surfaces will cause false hyperbola returns on the screen.


If you have more questions please feel free to contact us at our website, www.prsar.org



DO FIXED-WING DRONES STILL HAVE A PLACE IN SEARCH AND RESCUE?


Back in 2013, when PRSAR started the drone program and began developing a Robotic Search response, the fixed-wing platform ruled the skies. This was mostly due to the flight time achieved by the Li-PO batteries. The smaller quadcopter drone was limited to 8-15 minutes of flight time which really wasn't enough time to get usable data. With the fixed wing, we could get 20-30 minute flight times with much better results. Battery management was the key to success with Li-PO batteries. Drain the battery too fast, and you could end up with a fireball in the sky. Not a good ending.

Over the last ten years, we have seen tremendous advances in battery technology. Quadcopters can now fly for up to 40 minutes and PRSAR even has a fixed-wing aircraft that can stay in the air for six hours. However, with the added flight time of the fixed-wing aircraft comes more of a workload.

The new fixed wings carry multi sensors from Live IR/4K color video to NDVI/NIR/ 4K Color imagery while mapping capabilities. The can cover vast areas in a short time making data retrieval quick! Lots of changes and improvements with the PRSAR drone program.

Visit our Website

Trophy Hunting in Search & Recovery

An Opinion


What's The Difference in the Pictures Above?


Recently, an internet poll asked if there was one thing that could be UN-invented, what would it be? The number one answer was Social Media. Social media platforms are important sources of socialization and relationship-building for many young people. Although there are some benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health. Girls and young people who identify as sexual and gender minorities can be especially vulnerable as targets. Young people’s brains are still developing, and as individuals, they are developing their identities. What they see on social media can define what is expected in ways that are not accurate and that can be destructive to identity development and self-image. Adolescence is a time of risk-taking, both a strength and a vulnerability. Social media can exacerbate risks, as we have seen played out in the news. 


Recently we have seen the formation of spontaneous Search Teams. Inspired individuals with a side scan sonar and a scuba tank are heading out to make a difference. Others start YouTube commentary channels claiming to be investigators or journalists who present hearsay as evidence, possibly derailing the active investigation while profiting off the families' pain. Most of these teams are untrained, unskilled, and unprofessional. They do not understand search theory, the legal process, the court system, and the chain of custody handling evidence. They routinely destroy evidence, perform inadequate searches, and then bloviate on social media about how wonderful they are. The public believes their garbage and demands they have a right to know which no such right exists.

 

But behind all the social media hype is a family that is missing a loved one and desperately looking for answers. As the months and years pass, these families live in a cruel limbo of mourning and despair waiting for answers that may never come. When the Law Enforcement agency has exhausted all leads and no longer returns their calls. the families turn to anyone willing to help them. They are treated like nothing more than props in a B movie. The search team film crews have been heard saying, "Wait for the money shot" or "Don't call Law Enforcement, yet we need more footage." Death announcements have been made on social media before the family is properly notified, and the authorities with jurisdiction have taken control of the scene. Now, the family not only has to deal with the trauma of losing a loved one but suffers the inhumanity of self-aggrandizing internet trolls.

 

The family and the deceased should be handled with the dignity and solemnity they deserve. They are suffering. The families live with the day-to-day moment-to-moment worrying about their missing loved one—the stress of dealing with Law Enforcement and spontaneous volunteers. Scam artists will try to offer fake services to swindle money from them. Added to this, they also have the pressure of financial problems from this type of event, a breadwinner is now missing that income. Some families struggle to keep food on the table while they wait for eviction. Other families cannot proceed with death benefits or insurance claims until the remains are found, and a death certificate issued which can take up to seven years. The term "closure" is often used when a loved one is located, but that is NOT synonymous with healing. Closure only refers to closing out the search phase, and now the grief and recovery phase begins. Unfortunately, that is a long process for the family. The families deserve to be treated better.


Besides law enforcement, PRSAR works with many other agencies. In our international work, we have the privilege of working with GRM, ICRC, the United Nations, and other foreign governments in the location of missing persons. Because of this work, we are held to a higher standard. PRSAR supports International Rescue and Humanitarian Forensic Action and NAGPRA with neutrality, independence, and impartiality grounded in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and guided by humanitarian principles. Below is a page from one of the many training manuals we have.

What we do in Search is a very noble endeavor. We work tirelessly to assist both Law Enforcement and the families and get resolution. We do this out of compassion for our fellow human beings that are hurting. It is imperative that they walk worthy of this endeavor and act appropriately.

Practice Kindness

PRSAR is on Venmo!

This QR code offers a quick and easy way to support us on our mission. Please feel free to donate today!

Volunteers Who Gave So Much

James Case

We love to spotlight members who have served their communities through PRSAR and this month we remember James Case and his K9 Grace. Jim came to us from the North USA where he was a Fire Captain and also a Radio personality. After retiring to Florida, Jim adopted his K9 companion Grace and joined PRSAR. For many years Jim and Grace served as Live find and Cadaver teams working on many cases and recoveries. Jim's contribution to PRSAR was exceptional. Last year K9 Grace developed some heath challenges and Jim made the tough decision to retire from SAR work and live the good life. We have missed them both but they do happen to find their way out to visit now and then.


Just one of the many volunteers that serve at PRSAR!

How Accurate is GPS Navigation?

GPS has become a generic term for any type of satellite navigation system, but GPS (Global Positioning System) actually refers to a satellite network developed by the United States and under the watch of the USAF Space Command. There are similar systems developed by other countries but they are under different names.


So how does the GPS system work? There are three components to the GPS system;


1) Satellites-these orbit the Earth at a distance of 12,000 miles. A grouping of these satellites is known as a constellation. You will need six Satellites for your navigation.


2) The Control Station: These are earth-based stations that monitor and correct the time distortion caused by Earth's gravity. They are a key component.


3) The GPS Receiver - This is a handheld device that might be a stand-alone unit or part of a cellphone. This is the portion the user sees!

So How Accurate is GPS?

In normal conditions, civilian GPS is accurate to within 15 to 50 feet. This is known as standard positioning accuracy. That means your receiver can only guarantee that you are within a percentage of the location you are seeing. This information is on the device's satellite page. This page also gives you the constellation you are using and the types of satellites you see. Some satellites will have a D in their identification, showing they are the new generation satellites with more accurate distance measuring abilities. This is known as DGPS or Differential GPS which is much more accurate bringing your accuracy range down to 3 to 10 feet. For extreme accuracy, there is the RTK or Real Time Kinetic GPS that involves a base station and rolling receiver.

Other GPS Systems-


As mentioned earlier there are other systems operated by other countries. There are basically four systems-


1) GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) developed by Russia

2) China's BeiDou Navigational System

3) Galileo developed by the EV and European Space Agency

4) IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation System) was created by India and provides aviation only for that continent.


Receivers purchased in the United States are typically designed to be compatible with multiple GPS systems and GLONASS and GPS work well together in the lower 48 states. When you get up above the Arctic Circle you may have some problems due to the curvature of the Earth, heavy magnetic fields, and satellite positions.


Lastly, GPS systems use Microwave signaling which can easily be blocked by buildings, tree canopies, tunnels, mountains, and other objects that can cause your receiver to lose its fix. Be aware of these GPS limitations and enjoy the navigation!

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