The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, Inc. (MARG) is a volunteer search and rescue organization dedicated to saving lives in the outdoors. Our missions include wilderness search for lost persons and rescue of the injured from hiking, hunting, or other outdoor accidents. We also assist with other outdoor rescues including cave rescues and technical (requiring the use of rope) evacuations of the injured. Our group is composed of experts in many fields including search management, cave rescue, communications, and wilderness medicine. We are member of the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference (ASRC).
The Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference is a community of nine search and rescue groups spanning from Pittsburgh, PA through the tidewater area of Virginia. All groups follow a common set of operating and training standards. Although we conduct training locally, all of our members are tested to accordance with the standards of the ASRC prior to certification.
The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group functions under the authority of the agency responsible for search and rescue, for example the State Police, County Sheriff, Fire Department, Civil Air Patrol Mission Coordinator, Local Emergency Services Coordinator, or Park Superintendent. MARG will only conduct operations at the request of these agencies, and will directly support the agency.
A Mountaineer Area Rescue Group quick response team can be mobilized in an hour or less. The composition of the team depends upon the nature of the mission. For a rescue operation, the quick response team is self-sufficient for 48 hours, and carries field portable medical, communications, and rescue equipment appropriate to the situation. Members have medical training ranging from First Aid through Paramedic and field-qualified Physician.
MARG can also provide an overhead team to initiate the coordination and execution of a large-scale search operation. Our members can provide advice, provide specific management help, or supervise all aspects of the search operation, at the request of the responsible authority. A number of members are graduates of the National Search and Rescue School, Yorktown, VA, as well as taken other nationally recognized courses in search management.
We welcome the opportunity to train with other organization interested in search and rescue techniques. We can also provide assistance with search related training to interested emergency service organizations within our service area. From time to time we sponsor regional cave rescue and wilderness medicine training courses.
MARG also has community outreach programs to prevent persons from becoming lost or what to do if they should find themselves lost. We provide preventative search and rescue education, such as the Hug-a-Tree children's program and a "Lost in the Woods" flyer. We provide personal safety education, such as Wilderness First Aid classes for the Boy Scouts. Often MARG is asked to provide radio communication and first-aid services for events, such as 5-K races or the Coopers Rock Foundation's Winterfest.
The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group will respond to any location within a 2-3 hour drive of Morgantown, West Virginia. Most of our members live in Monongalia and Preston Counties and the surrounding areas in West Virginia. We are available for emergencies in other areas depending on travel time and transportation. For many outside area emergencies we ask that the responsible authority approve fixed-wing transport (usually funded by the US Air Force or the state) to minimize travel time and fatigue and to make our services more efficient.
We work with many emergency services organizations across the region. We will respond outside our normal service area in response to a mutual-aid request from any of these groups.
The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group and ASRC have neither the equipment nor the intent to replace any of the services of established rescue squads, fire departments, or law enforcement agencies. We provide specialized management, medical, and technical services in the outdoors, especially in rugged terrain. We consider our mission finished when the lost person or accident victim reaches a normally accessible area (i.e., a road).
We will assist law enforcement agencies with certain tasks, such as collection of evidence or search and recovery of crime victims in wilderness areas. However, we will not be involved in any pursuit or apprehension of criminals nor participate in any high-risk or “tactical” searches involving fugitive recovery.