NESAR volunteers offer their specialist search-and-rescue skills to bring home the lost, missing, and injured all over Central and Eastern Pennsylvania and the tri-state area. Every year, our members donate an average of 10,000 hours to rescue operations and training.

Our Mission


NESAR is dedicated to bringing home the missing and injured.

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Our Capabilities


NESAR members are fully trained in search-and-rescue, technical rescue, and disaster response.

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Our Community Programs


Service to the community is a NESAR hallmark. 

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Our Mission


Always training, always on call ... that others may live.

Since our founding in 1972, lost and injured people - hikers, campers, hunters, dementia patients, young children (often with special needs) –  have relied on the life-saving services of Northeast Search and Rescue (NESAR).

NESAR is among the foremost search and rescue teams on the East Coast. Our K9 search units, water rescue/recovery units, and wilderness evac units regularly work emergency searches throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and beyond. Our human and K9 members have been integral to search and rescue/recovery operations in the aftermaths of the World Trade Center attack, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy. We are on call 24/7/365. In an average year, we log approximately 50 searches and 10,000 search and training hours.

Our handlers, K9s, and technical rescue specialists are trained in live find, human remains detection, trailing, water detection, swift water rescue, grid search, disaster response, search management, and more, and respond to calls for assistance day or night, on land or water, in all weather.

NESAR is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Our members are strictly volunteer and do not receive financial compensation for their services.

NESAR is dedicated to serving our communities and helping families on their worst days.

Our Capabilities



Founded in 1972, Northeast Search and Rescue (NESAR) has grown to be one of the most active teams on the East Coast. NESAR team members have participated in countless search emergencies throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and beyond, and have assisted in numerous disaster recovery operations and weather-related emergencies, in cooperation with local, state, and federal agencies.

We operate as a self-sufficient supporting field unit, with all the skills and equipment necessary to provide search assistance to law enforcement and local authorities.

NESAR members are held to the highest standards, continually training in ground search, K-9 search, emergency medicine, and technical rescue methods. Our members are volunteer professionals that meet or exceed the SARTECH II standard.  Each year, we log an average of approximately 8,000 training and search hours.

We specialize in managing search operations, finding and aiding lost persons, and evacuating injured persons. We are thoroughly experienced in and prepared for wilderness, urban, suburban, rural, high-angle, and disaster environments, nighttime operations, and the rigors of harsh weather. We are on call 24/7/365.

We work in cooperation with local law enforcement and emergency responders, the Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council, PEMA, and mutual aid to conduct safe, efficient searches and achieve the best possible outcome for the missing and their families.

NESAR is deployed only by authorizing authorities and does not charge for its services. 


Emergency Incident & Search Management

NESAR offers comprehensive incident management services for all types of missing persons cases throughout eastern and central Pennsylvania, western New Jersey, and beyond. Our highly skilled volunteer professionals have decades of experience in search management and operations. We provide search management personnel fully trained in managing search operations and in NIMS standards. Our incident command personnel lead search operations or work in cooperation with the search managers of other agencies to bring a search emergency to its best possible conclusion.

We provide communications personnel and equipment for search and/or disaster emergencies, including mobile/portable VHF point-to-point radios and repeater capabilities for enhanced communication at search sites. Each NESAR team member has portable comms capability with search command. We also have direct radio comms with Monroe County Emergency Operations Center and PEMA. Our mobile command post trailer is equipped with the latest search management and mapping software.

Wilderness SAR | Technical SAR | Disaster Response

Our wilderness search-and-rescue expertise encompasses land navigation, survival skills, wilderness first aid, ground and grid search tactics, man tracking techniques, search theory, clue awareness, sign cutting, remote rescue operations, search management, and more.

NESAR specialists are also trained in a variety of technical disciplines including urban search-and-rescue, rope rescue, structural collapse search-and-rescue, confined-space search-and-rescue,  ice rescue, water search-and-rescue, and cadaver recovery.

In the event of natural or man-made disasters or emergencies, NESAR also serves as a supporting resource to local, state, and federal authorities.

K9 Search & Recovery

Dog teams have a very special role in the world of SAR. The dogs’ ultra-sensitive hearing, night vision, endurance and, especially, keen sense of smell have continually proven to be invaluable in the effort to locate missing persons. Because of their extraordinary abilities, dogs are able to reduce drastically the time spent searching, thereby increasing the chances that the missing will be found alive. 

NESAR's K9 search units are proficient in air scent, trailing, tracking, and water search, and in both live find and HRD. Our K9 teams are certified to meet or exceed National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) and Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Council (PSARC) standards .

Swift Water & Flood Water Rescue

NESAR water rescue technicians are able to rescue victims trapped by flood waters, boating accidents, or those lost on the water. NESAR operates its own rescue boat as well as off-road vehicles to facilitate rescues on rivers, creeks, and lakes, and we are fully equipped to properly respond to floodwater emergencies. Our specialists are trained for boat- and shore-based water and swiftwater rescues, as well as recovery operations. We are also fully trained and equipped for surface ice rescue techniques.

Community Programs


Hug-a-Tree and Survive

Inspired by the search for a nine-year-old boy, the Hug-a-Tree program teaches children how to survive in the woods should they become lost. The program was developed to educate children in a few of the most basic and vital survival principles. Many children are alive today because they learned how to take care of themselves through the Hug-A-Tree program.

NESAR is pleased to offer trained presenters that can bring this lifesaving program to your classroom, Scout meeting, or youth group at no charge.

The program is approximately 30 to 40 minutes long and includes demonstrations on using a whistle and reflector to signal for help, staying dry and warm using a simple garbage bag, how to attract searchers' attention, and many crucial safety tips. 

The Hug-A-Tree program is geared toward children 5 years old and up. It’s ideal for Scouting programs and schools. If you would like us to bring the Hug-A-Tree program to your organization or school, please click the button below to contact us.

Schedule Hug-A-Tree

Safety Support and Staging

NESAR frequently provides first aid support and safety resources to a variety of local organizations. Our experienced volunteers have both the specialized training and equipment necessary to supply medical standbys for events in wilderness terrain, as well as help with staging, course guides, and more for your cross-country foot race, mountain bike rally, parade, or polar bear plunge.

Please get in touch to learn more about working with  us to make your event safer. NESAR never charges for any of our services, but we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers. All donations are greatly appreciated.

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