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Communicating with the media

Page updated: 30 November 2020

If you're the Incident Controller, you are responsible for approving all communications to the media.

Follow your organisation’s policies and processes for communicating with the media

Consult your organisation’s prepared media plan. This will tell you the policy and process for communicating with public media outlets.

When deciding whether or not to approve a communication to the media, consider the effect the media release may have on:

  • the subjects
  • the subject's next of kin
  • the SAR operation
  • the SAR resources involved including responders, coordinating authorities, and other SAR agencies.

When communicating with the media:

  • rely on factual evidence only, and avoid speculating on what may have happened
  • use correct terminology (for example don’t say activity has been ‘suspended’ when it has only been temporarily paused)
  • consider using the Police or Maritime NZ media.


Refer to NZSAR for general safety messages

Search and rescue responses create opportunities for you to share messages about safety in the outdoors with the public.

Refer to NZSAR’s messages when sharing general safety information. These were developed to provide simple, clear, and consistent guidance messages for the use of all SAR organisations. Using them will help keep messages consistent across the SAR sector.

Need to report someone lost or missing? call 111 - Ask for police