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Communicating about a suspension

Page updated: 30 November 2020

If you're the Incident Controller, you are responsible for communicating about a suspension.

Use key words accurately

Make sure you use the right words when communicating about the SAR operation. Incorrect use of key terms can result in confusion and distress for the family of the subject.

Keep the subject's family informed

Someone should have been appointed as family liaison officer at an earlier stage in the SAR operation. This person needs to:

  • have detailed knowledge of SAR processes and practice
  • be fully informed about the progress of the SAR operation
  • be able to answer any questions the subject's family may have.

This person should be providing the family with regular updates about the progress of the SAR operation.

Make sure the subject's family knows about a possible suspension

Advise the person communicating with the subject's family that you are considering suspending the operation. The person responsible for communicating with the family should then:

  • advise the subject's family as soon as possible (at least 24 hours before the suspension occurs)
  • give feedback to the Incident Controller after advising the family about the possible suspension.
Need to report someone lost or missing? call 111 - Ask for police