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These individuals or organizations are but a few of our past partners who have either used the VSP process to find missing persons, or have endorsed the process and supported its development over the years. They are part of the growing movement to make Virtual Search Planning a "best practice" for finding  lost persons .  

"Hello Sir, just passing on we did a VSP Refresher the last 3 days ( is Thursday) with our Mississippi Task Force guys. On the way home we got word of a search in northern Mississippi and were able to get them to bring us over to help. Worked up a VSP while Chris Olson was driving using SARtopo and only info gathered from the media blast. We directed teams on site and found the guy alive 110 meters from the place he lives in a heavy wooded area that we identified as our primary search area. He was 69 years old and had been in the woods since Monday. Was only reported missing yesterday. He was alive but wouldn't have been much longer.

Thank you for your dedication to saving lives. You have single handily changed how we operate in the State of Mississippi through your training. We are thankful for the relationship that our first responders have developed with you over the last few years and look forward to continuing to work with you in the years to come".

Ben McMinn, Lieutenant , Hernando Fire Department, Training Coordinator-MSTF1

The first time I met Paul Burke, I was strongly impressed by his:


COMPETENCE: The system of Virtual SAR Planning he is designing is logical and fast. His tremendous background in SAR has contributed to his insights. He is combining a number of concepts appropriate to SAR planning into a rational whole in a way not done before – doing it quickly through the imagintative use of on-line resources.


DOCUMENTATION: He has an impressive complilation of actual case histories strongly supporting the concept of Virtual SAR Planning.


PASSION: He is visibly excited about Virtual SAR Planning – when he speaks you can see it in his manner and tone of voice. That passion was also obvious in that he has contributed considerable time and energy toward developing the techniques and teaching them to others.


My first meeting with Paul was in May of 2015, at the Washington State SAR Conference. The Wash. State SAR Coordinator, Chris Long, had asked me to attend Paul's presentation on this topic – he wanted my opinion. I was impressed with Paul! I see his work as a leap forward in the state of the art. The three of us (Paul Burke, Chris Long and I) talked together for an hour later that afternoon. Virtual SAR Planning has been subsequently adopted by the newly formed Wash. State SAR Planning Unit. Paul has actively participated in the training of those unit members. The practice of utilizing Virtual SAR Planning is in the process of becoming routine here.


Jon Wartes

 (Jon Wartes has been active in SAR leadership within Washington State for the last 60 years. Now at age 74, he has still not retired from it.)

Paul Burke is simply the best search planner there is. He understands the planning process so thoroughly that he always assigns the best and most efficient search resource to the right area at the right time. This ensures finding the lost person as quickly as possible. If you are lost, you want Paul to manage the search for you. As a search management instructor, no one can explain intricate concepts as clearly and as simply as Paul. He has a deep desire to rescue people in distress and he instills this attitude in his students.  His enthusiasm for managing searches safely and efficiently transfers to his students, who embrace Paul’s devotion to search management. Paul and I have managed searches and taught search management classes together since 1989. Paul Burke is by far the best search manager and instructor there is.


Harry Whitaker, Lt Co, USAF retired

Past Commander Alaska USAF Rescue Coordination Center

"My unit has been using and teaching the Virtual Search Planning process for over a year and we have found it to be incredibly useful. Perhaps the most powerful and evolutionary aspect of the process is it very quickly brings together the vast experience and knowledge of experts from all over the country to bear on a specific search scenario - at no cost, risk, or drain to local resources. VSP has significantly advanced the state of the art and science of Search and Rescue planning." 

"Aside from his experience and knowledge from over a thousand missions and being the SAR Coordinator for two different states, what really comes through when you meet him is his passion for all things Search and Rescue along with his desire to share that knowledge with other SAR professionals. Paul has directed that energy towards transformational improvements to the art of Seach and Rescue through thedevelopment and teaching of the Virtual Search process, his work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, his stint as the National Training Director for NASAR, and even his latest project developing a SAR podcast. It would be difficult to overstate the contributions Mr. Burke has made to the national SAR community throughout his career.

Eric Rosenberg

Lead Analyst

Washington State SAR Planning Unit

" Incredible work done by one of my best friends and co-workers. The passion and dedication he has for search and rescue is an inspiration. He has an amazing success rate with this process. Worth your time to look."  

 Kelli Boyd Baratti,

 Operations Chief, NV DEM

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