Virginia Search and Rescue Teams Save 4 Lives Thursday

December 15, 2017  //  

Virginia search and rescue teams were called out four times in the past 24 hours, with all four incidents ending in positive outcomes. Local, state and volunteer teams were dispatched through localities and the Virginia Emergency Operations Center Situational Awareness Unit to support localities with search teams and planning assistance.  The teams rallied to create a systematic process to find those who were reported missing having acute physical or mental health conditions, or whose lives were threatened by freezing temperatures. All four calls on Thursday resulted in the missing persons being returned home safely, including a six-year-old Bedford County boy lost for more than four hours when he ran off with his dog, a 33-year-old woman in Frederick County suffering from a mental health condition, a 70-year-old Henrico man missing for hours, and a 12-year-old Henrico boy who had been missing for more than four hours.

With cold weather continuing across Virginia and children being out of school on holiday break, VDEM’s search and rescue program expects to remain busy this holiday season. Many local search and rescue teams are looking for more volunteers to train to participate in these searches. To get involved, email and we will work to connect you with your local search and rescue organization.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) coordinates the statewide search and rescue program and is on call 24/7 to provide search and rescue support to localities responding to missing person reports. This year, VDEM has responded to 94 search and rescue requests statewide.

To learn more about VDEM’s search and rescue program, visit


Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund