The hot season for the LizaAlert search team is always becoming one of the most active in terms of missing person search applications. According to the volunteers themselves – representatives of the detachment, walks in the woods often end with the fact that a person can not find his way home alone. The Petersburg Diary met with Anton Paulin, PSO LizaAlert coordinator in St. Petersburg, and learned how to prevent the side effects of such walks
– Anton, tell us about the working principles of the LizaAlert search team.
– Our excerpt has a single telephone line that operates throughout the country. Volunteers working on it accept all incoming calls – they are not just search requests. For example, offers of help, cooperation and the like.
If a person contacts the hotline with a search request, the operator collects primary information – where and when and under what circumstances the person disappeared, their age. Further, the application is transferred to the area to which it belongs.
Each district has its own information coordinators who accept a job application, communicate with the applicant and are already interviewed in as much detail as possible, based on standard questionnaires for each missing category – whether it is a child, adult, disabled person and so on. Thus, all the necessary information for conducting a search is collected. It is then transferred to the coordinator, who is ready to undertake this search and the active actions begin – the coordinator determines the location of the future headquarters, what resources will be required for the search and so on.
– What is the number of volunteers in St. Petersburg today – members of the search team LizaAlert?
– Currently, there are 573 people on our internal alarm channel. But it is important to understand that not everything can be in place at the same time. In other words, these are volunteers who in one way or another, if they have the time and opportunity, are ready to start working to find the missing person. As a rule, no more than 20-40 people can be in the space at the same time. In addition, these 573 people are not just search engines. Among them are many so-called “home experts” who work from home, helping search companies in one way or another.
How many search queries do you receive per day on average?
– On average, in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, there are about 10 applications. The record number of applications in my memory is about 50. But, as a rule, not all of them eventually evolve into a search. There are false requests, there are requests that we will not accept for one reason or another.
– Under what conditions will you definitely accept a job search request?
– A basic condition is the submission of an appropriate application to the police. We have established very close and close cooperation with the police and, in principle, with all law enforcement agencies – the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the investigative committee, etc. For any search, we always work closely with them.
Otherwise, it is easier to say which applications we do not receive at work. First, by categorically refusing to file a complaint with the police. We do not engage in non-targeted searches. That is, if a person objectively does not need search and rescue, where nothing threatens him. Also, we do not participate in the search for debtors, in family quarrels and the like. We do not participate in criminal investigations and if a person disappeared more than a year ago. We receive all other requests to work.
– What is also important to understand when communicating with you?
“There is no reason to delay and wait. This is the most common mistake our applicants make. The first day of a missing person is the most precious. According to our statistics, 95 percent of the applications submitted on the first day close with the status “found, alive”. On the second day under the same regime, only 70 percent of applications were closed. In the third and later – only 50 percent.
If a person does not dare to make such a statement to the police, it is important to understand that there is not a single legal act that does not allow the reporting of a missing person on the very first day. In addition, anyone can apply, regardless of degree of kinship, area of residence and period of loss.
If there is reason to believe that a person has disappeared – he does not come in contact, this is not typical for him, he did not appear at the specified time where he should have appeared – this is already a reason to seek help. And always remember: the most valuable are the first hours, the first day.
– Are children, teenagers or adults most often lost?
“According to our statistics, most of the time we receive applications for missing adult men. In second place are the elderly with mental or intellectual disabilities or the elderly who in the summer love to walk in the woods. Traditionally, most of the people who disappeared in the spring and summer are those who, for one reason or another, like to go for walks in the forest. The classic image of the missing person is a person who has been walking in the same forest for 20-30 years and at the same time is very confident in his abilities. When a person realizes that he has no orientation in the forest and that he can get lost, he often does not go much to the forest. And when a person, on the other hand, is very sure that he knows everything and will certainly not get lost – these are the people who are much more likely to find themselves in a situation where they can not find their way home. Again, the reason is often not only self-confidence, but also a rather irresponsible approach to collecting for a walk in the natural environment.
– What is the specificity of the searches depending on the time of year?
– We receive search requests daily, regardless of the time of year. But, of course, with the onset of hot weather, ie spring-summer, most of our applications come in the natural environment. People start going to the forest for berries, just for walks – everyone has their own goals. It often happens that a person either gets lost or does not realize where he is, but for one reason or another he can not return home. Usually in such cases we talk about a sharp deterioration of the state of health – the heart was caught, the leg twisted, etc.
If a person at some point realized that he was lost in the woods, then, first, you should immediately call 112 and report what happened. In addition, it is important to follow unequivocally all the recommendations he receives.
– What mistakes are still characteristic of people lost in the forest?
Realizing that they are looking, they start running hurriedly through the forest in an attempt to find a way out on their own. You do not need to do this. Under such circumstances, the search coordinator and leaders do not understand which zones have already been processed and which are being processed, possibly again. The basic rule – if you realize you are lost – stop. It is important to stop those actions that led to this sad result. This is a move. This way, you do not worsen your situation and do not interfere in the search.
– What advice can you give to a person who is going to hike in the forest?
– You know, sometimes one gets the impression that people are acting just the opposite of our recommendations. Therefore, we do not tire of repeating the rules we advise you to follow. First, we strongly recommend that you do not wear camouflage when going to the forest. A man in camouflage does not appear at all. If for one reason or another he is not even able to respond to the call of the search team, he will no longer be visible from 10-20 meters. And we, most likely, will just pass by without noticing it. Nothing prevents you from buying a reflective vest. It does not cost that much. But at the same time, in a reflective signal vest, a person is perfectly visible even from a distance.
Next, it is very important to have a fully charged mobile phone with you. Often people do not take their cell phones with them, due to the fact that they may be lost or have no connection in the forest and are not needed. But many do not know that when you call 112, the phone will attempt to make a call using any available communication tower.
It is also important to have a whistle with you. If a person gets lost in the woods, the first thing he will try to do is find an answer. It is important to respond – that is, to respond to sound with sound. The voice may, for one reason or another, sit down, but the whistle will not.
You should also have with you the set of medications that a person takes on a regular basis. If they exist. Even if he has to take a conditional pill once a day and in the morning before going to the forest he took it, let him have supplies with him. If something suddenly goes wrong, the next morning he will be able to take her if she is with him. It is also necessary to take with you at least a liter of water and a minimum of snacks.
Should I take a compass with me? Will he be able to help if someone gets lost in the forest?
– Compass is a good story, but with some reservations. It is important to know how to use a compass. That is, everyone knows that it is pointing north, but this knowledge alone is not enough. Conventionally, a man gets lost in the woods, has a compass and understands where the North is. What will this information give him? Does not matter. In addition, the compass can play a tough joke on a person who does not know how to use it. For example, a loser remembers that his home is in the South and he will go strictly to the South according to the compass. But it is important to understand that the house is a certain point that can pass, go even further and worsen the situation even more.
– What nuances is also important to consider before going into the natural environment?
– Before going to the forest, we strongly recommend that you tell anyone – relatives, friends, neighbors – where, when and for what purpose they were going. And also when he will return. Even if something goes wrong, his loved ones will be able to seek help immediately. The person did not return at the appointed time and communication with him was lost – this is a reason to seek help. Under no circumstances should you be late. It is important to understand that if one knows where and when a person went and when they planned to return, this can greatly facilitate the search. We will already know where to start the search.
Also important is the information why the person went to the forest. Conventionally, if he went for mushrooms, then some parts will be processed as a matter of priority, if for berries – completely different.
If a person realizes that they are lost, you should seek help immediately. It’s free. We do not accept search requests if the investigator has not made a statement to the police, but if a person claims to be himself – that is, he had a phone with him and was able to go to our operator’s number or number 112, then we will certainly accept such job application.