SAR crew & other personnel
Selection of SAR crew
The rear crewmen and women in Search and Rescue operations are of critical importance both to successful missions and flight safety. Subject to their role, they may have experience from maintenance, ambulance, fire fighting etc, and most SAR crew candidates have a comprehensive physical test program before they are invited to psychological testing and assessment.
The written test battery and assessment procedure is similar to the one applied for pilot candidates, but the pilot specific tests are not included. They have to be able to contribute to safe and timely decisions on board, communicate well, handle loads of physical and mental stress and operative challenges. They need to be stable and perform well in conditions when most of us are very happy to safe on ground and at home.
They also have to be able to function in a team during long days with no missions, to be waiting for the next call, and then to be alert and ready when they take off – often with limited information available about what to expect.
Our involvement in SAR crew selection has been reported to give improvements in safety, better training performances, better work environment, less injures and sick-leaves, and lower turn-over. A reliable selection process is an undisputable sound investment.
There are a lot of industries and positions where the work operations and conditions are similar to ones we find in the aircraft. Within the maritime and offshore industry you also have advanced technology and man-machine systems, operations with physical challenges, high demands on communication and teamwork, procedures that have to be adhered to as well as situations calling for safe improvisations. The risks if something goes wrong might involve human life, extreme environmental damages and financial costs. The vessels go faster, the manpower is reduced, automation increased and the responsibilities are higher. A maritime career is not a predictable journey across the seven seas, it is filled with operative decisions, organizational and cost-benefit considerations.
Transportation of people and cargo on ground, also with higher speed and more technology, faces many of the same challenges. Production of or including dangerous, poisonous materials, has its own challenges.
Stable personal and interpersonal functioning, sound decision-making and a good awareness for changes in the system she/he controls, is needed in most advanced human-machine systems. The ability to handle complex information and changing conditions, might be critical when the unexpected occurs and in spite of all back-up systems. The ability to work in teams, to be assertive yet also listening, to execute leadership when needed, are critical assets in a lot of positions and contexts outside the cockpit.