The Indiana Search and Rescue Association (INSARA), incorporated as a non-profit membership organization in 1994, is comprised of dedicated paid and non-paid professional search and rescue (SAR) response organizations and agencies. The Association is interested in all aspects of SAR and the humanitarian cause of saving lives, serving Indiana…….so that others may live.

The primary missions of the Indiana Search and Rescue Association (INSARA) are:

  • To increase professionalism among its members through the development, promotion, and implementation of nationally recognized search and rescue training and operations standards and the certification of search and rescue responders.
  • To increase and improve the response and preparedness capabilities of its members by providing a comprehensive search and rescue training and education program.
  • To promote the development and implementation of a total, integrated search and rescue response system within the State of Indiana, to include a comprehensive statewide search and rescue plan.

INSARA Organizational History


December 11, 1993 – Sixteen representatives of various public safety agencies and volunteer SAR teams met at the Bartholomew County Emergency Management Agency office in Columbus, IN to critique the recent search for missing Boy Scouts at Brown County State Park. The group decided an organization should be developed to promote standardized training and establish a network between various SAR responders. A number of these representatives formed the nucleus of the Indiana Search and Rescue Association (INSARA).


March 7, 1994 – The Indiana Search and Rescue Association is incorporated as an Indiana not-for-profit corporation.

July 1994 – The first issue of the INSARA newsletter, Hoosier Responder, is published and distributed.

September 1994 – INSARA petitions the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) to become an external organization (affiliate).


May 31, 1995 – INSARA Vice President Tom Millen is awarded the first NASAR Instructor of the Year Award at the annual NASAR conference in Nashville, TN.

September 15, 1995 – Upon the invitation of the Indiana Public Safety Training Institute (PSTI), INSARA presents SAR topics at the annual Indiana Public Safety Conference. INSARA also operates an exhibit booth for the first time at this conference.


October 1, 1997 – The Federal Communications Commission grants a license to INSARA for the operation of a statewide radio network for SAR coordination

May 12, 1997 – Governor Frank O’Bannon signs into law legislation to protect SAR canines. INSARA Organizational Members Ohio Valley SAR Dog Association and Midwest SAR Dogs, in cooperation with the Marion County Rescue Task Force (a.k.a., Indiana FEMA Task Force 1), spearheaded this legislative effort.

May 31, 1997 – INSARA Organizational Member Ohio Valley SAR Dog Association is awarded the NASAR State SAR Award at the annual NASAR conference in Richmond, VA. A congratulatory letter from Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon was also presented. INSARA Member-at-Large Susan Thrasher is awarded the 1997 NASAR Instructor of the Year Award.


May 16, 1998 – The INSARA Board of Directors formally adopts the NASAR Code of Ethics.

May 18, 1998 – INSARA signs an agreement with the National Association for Search and Rescue, becoming NASAR’s first affiliate organization.

July 28, 1998 – INSARA is granted federal 501(c)(3)tax exemption status by the US Internal Revenue Service.


February 1999 – The NASAR Board of Directors approves the canine SAR technician certification standards. INSARA Executive Director Mike Gilmore served as co-chairman of the NASAR subcommittee that developed the standards, and INSARA Board Member Don Rabe served as a subcommittee member. INSARA Individual Member Marti Vanada and INSARA Member-at-Large Ronnie Sloss served as certification program reviewers.

September 18, 1999 – INSARA is granted state tax exemption by the Indiana Department of Revenue.


March 2000 – INSARA develops a temporary web page with the assistance of the Indianapolis Star newspaper community web network.


January 2002 – INSARA initiates its permanent web site hosted by IQuest Internet Services.

May 2002 – Nominated by INSARA, FEMA Task Force IN-TF1 is awarded the 2002 NASAR State SAR Award for its participation at the World Trade Center disaster in New York City. A number of INSARA members are members of IN-TF1 and responded to the World Trade Center disaster.

August 17, 2002 – The INSARA Board of Directors adopts the mandatory INSARA Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct incorporates the NASAR Code of Ethics.

November 9, 2002 -The INSARA Board of Directors votes to support the annual Indiana-Kentucky Search and Rescue (IN-KY SAR) Conference and sponsor the activity as a NASAR L.A.S.T conference.


May 17, 2003 – The INSARA Board of Directors adopts the voluntary INSARA Mutual Aid Agreement and votes to form the INSARA Academy.

December 17, 2003 – The Indiana Secretary of State approves the INSARA Academy as a subsidiary operated by the Indiana Search and Rescue Association.

Recent Announcements

  • NASAR SARTECH II Evaluation Aug 18-19 NASAR SARTECH II Evaluation - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nasar-sartech-ii-evaluation-tickets-35478296540
    Posted Jun 25, 2017, 6:39 PM by AJ Ragusa
  • NASAR SARTECH II Evaluation Sept 9-10th NASAR SARTECH II Evaluation - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nasar-sartech-ii-evaluation-tickets-37403238092
    Posted Aug 28, 2017, 5:04 PM by AJ Ragusa
  • 2017 INSARA Members Survey The INSARA Executive board is looking for feedback about the future of INSARA.  We put together a survey for members of INSARA to let us know what they want to ...
    Posted Jun 25, 2017, 6:35 PM by AJ Ragusa
  • INSARA Board of Directors Meeting INSARA's next Board of Directors meeting in Sunday March 20th 4:30pm to 6:30pm any INSARA members are invited to join via the Google Hangout.  Information can be ...
    Posted Mar 4, 2016, 6:09 PM by AJ Ragusa
  • 2 minute emergency shelter building workshop Tickets Available: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/insara-2-minute-emergency-shelter-building-workshop-tickets-22593156740You’ll leave the class having built an emergency shelter (that is quick to ...
    Posted Mar 4, 2016, 6:05 PM by AJ Ragusa
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