Assessing Risk and Accessibility to Search and Rescue Teams

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Which areas within the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas, are classified as high risk to rescuers searching for someone lost or injured, and which areas are more than 30 minutes from a hospital?

Many agencies, organizations, and companies have been realizing the value of geographic information system (GIS) technology for a wide range of applications. Recently, search and rescue (SAR) teams have used GIS to evaluate accessibility in national forests and other areas where recreation is popular. The job of SAR teams is to locate people in need of rescue and return them and the team to a safe environment. GIS is a good tool for assessing risk to search and rescue teams and analyzing the time it is likely to take to get an injured victim to a hospital. These types of assessments help SAR teams plan and prepare for efficient, effective, and safe rescues.

Keywords: Arkansas; Ouachita National Forest; risk assessment; search and rescue; creating map layouts; network analyst; raster; raster calculator; raster reclassification; spatial analyst; vector, SpatiaLABS

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