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This technique is very effective if you don’t have enough people to form a successful probe line. To use this technique, first define the burial area. Tell the searchers to form a straight line, and make sure each one is spaced apart to an arm’s length.

Each searcher must then probe the burial area in front three times: once straight in front, then on the left and then on the right. Each probe must be at least 1.5 feet on the other side of the middle hole. The searchers must take a normal step forward when they are sure there is nothing and repeat probing on the new area again.

This technique has a distinct advantage, and that is that small groups of rescuers can search a larger area within a shorter time. This is a widely used technique to rescue people trapped in an avalanche and has saved many lives.


If you have few rescuers or if you are looking on a rough terrain, then it is a good idea for the probers to spread out, instead of wrist-to-wrist going fingertip-to-fingertip is a better idea. This means that the prober should probe once just at the tip of the left foot, then again outside the tip of the right foot. This technique is more effective than the three-hole per step technique, but it is slower.


If you have tried the first two methods of probing but there was no success and you are running out of time, it can be good idea to try the fine probe approach. The fine probe technique has proved to be more effective in detecting survivors and has a success rate of almost 100%. Probers have to probe at a closer area, this requires more workers but it saves a lot of time. With this technique, you can recheck an area at least five times within no time.