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The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, Inc. (MARG) is a volunteer search and rescue organization dedicated to finding and rescuing persons in distress in the outdoors.  Our missions include searching for and/or rescuing lost, ill, or injured persons , primarily in wilderness or wildland/urban interface areas.  Our group is composed of experts in many fields including search tactics, search management, technical rescue, patient care, the Incident Command System, and communications. 


 MARG is a member of the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference (ASRC), a community of seven search and rescue groups spanning from Columbus, OH through the Blue Ridge area of Virginia.   Although we conduct training locally, all of our members are tested in accordance with the standards of the ASRC.

Responsible Authority

The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group functions under the authority of a local agency responsible for search and rescue and other emergency response, primarily law enforcement agencies but also emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments, Civil Air Patrol Mission Coordinator, emergency managers, or park or forest superintendents. MARG will only conduct operations at the request of official agencies like these, and will directly support the requesting agency.


For lost person search missions, a Mountaineer Area Rescue Group quick response team can be mobilized in an hour or less (personnel will normally be in route within minutes of receiving the call; actual response time depends on the location of the incident).  The composition of the team depends upon the nature of the emergency. For a rescue operation, the quick response team will respond as rapidly as possible and carries field portable first aid, communications, and rescue equipment appropriate to the situation.  

MARG can also provide an overhead team to help begin coordination and execution of a large-scale search operation.  Depending on the needs and desires of the agency having jurisdiction, we can provide advice, provide specific management help, or supervise all aspects of the search or rescue operation.  A number of members are graduates of the National Search and Rescue School, Yorktown, VA, as well as other nationally recognized courses in search management. 

We welcome the opportunity to train with other organizations interested in search and rescue techniques.  We can also provide assistance with search and wilderness rescue related training to interested emergency service organizations within our service area.  From time to time we sponsor regional training in topics like cave rescue, wilderness first aid, or advanced search management.

MARG also has community outreach programs to help teach people to avoid getting 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 also provide personal safety education, such as Wilderness First Aid classes. Often MARG is asked to provide radio communication and support services for events, such as road races or the Coopers Rock Foundation's 50K and Half Marathon race.

Operational Area

The Mountaineer Area Rescue Group will respond to any location within a 2 hour drive of Morgantown, West Virginia.  Most of our members live in Monongalia and Preston Counties and the surrounding areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  We are available for emergencies in other areas depending on travel time and available transportation. ​

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.

Excluded Services

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 are available to support those agencies by providing specialized management 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.

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