“New Jersey’s Forest Fire Wardens have traditionally been the backbone of forest wildland search and rescue operations for lost and injured people. Their intimate knowledge of the forests, streams, ponds, mountain ranges, hiking trails, woods roads, and property lines qualifies them to capably respond to any emergency.”
A Manual of Instruction for Local Search and Rescue Groups, 1976
New Jersey Forest Service Search and Rescue was founded in 1950 by Frank Scardo and other members of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. For twenty years, New Jersey Forest Service Search and Rescue operated as an unofficial volunteer organization. In 1970 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Parks and Forestry organized official search and rescue teams of fire wardens from the Forest Fire Service and park rangers from the Park Service.
In 1976 Frank Scardo published A Manual of Instruction for Local Search and Rescue Groups to help train local groups in search and rescue. In it, Frank pointed out the need for common training and intergroup coordination when he wrote “This course is intended to familiarize you with search and rescue techniques currently used by Forest Rangers. We have deliberately paralleled the procedures in order to facilitate integration of our joint efforts in the future.
In 1987, New Jersey Forest Service Search and Rescue ended its official association with the Bureau of Parks and Forests when in changed its name and incorporated as New Jersey Search and Rescue®, Inc. Today, New Jersey Search and Rescue® still maintains strong ties to the Forest Service. Many members are also state Forest Wardens. Our name, New Jersey Search and Rescue®, Inc. was recognized as a Registered Mark by the US Patent Office in 1998.