The Mission Specialist position requires admins to respond to search requests by creating a post to the SWARM website, and in some cases, reaching out to pilots to get help. I am trying to automate this step so that it will not be required. It’s important that these posts get shared with our social media accounts, which I have also automated, but feel free to share anywhere you have access to, so the word gets out.

The other important step that needs to be followed by all is updating the mission status by simply commenting on the mission post. That way everyone knows what is going on.

Many have asked how much time is needed to fill this position. It would be hard to put an actual number on this because it directly relates to factors in the request. Also, the more people that help, the less load on everyone. SEE SAMPLE RECOMMENDATIONS BELOW



Swarm Recommendations for HUMAN request personal workflow. SWARMCritters being revised.

Get the request, verify we have all the information. Most importantly verify the status of ongoing SAR or not, who agency in charge is, and their contact information. (Also, it’s rare we will take a report from a Non-Family member EXTREMELY RARE. (If one is received talk to Tim or Don.)

Never assume a mission or even a missing person report has been filed. (We have had several relationship/family disputes where the request was not even an actual “missing person” but a dispute where one decided they did not want to deal with the others.

If we have all information and authority contact information, do a quick Google search to try and verify the case and situation (this is another place we have been careful as we have been contacted with a few cases of extremely strange and possible criminal cases involved)  If the case seems legitimate, check airspace maps and satellite images of the area. We need to verify, is it even possible to do this flight, if not think of alternate options and/or other suggestions or ideas we can discuss with the family, (this has happened in the past and may again) If there is clear air and ability to do the mission, we will reach out to pilots usually within a 150-mile range and ask if they are able to assist with the case, then we will tend to reach out to officer in charge, introduce who we are, explain we are volunteers, and we were contacted by the family for help. If the case is ongoing we might be asked to stand down during official search times. Do not take this personally or as a put-down, realize there is a lot of effort in searches and coordinating all the parties involved. If a stand-down is requested, we can monitor media and keep up on the case that way.

If the case no longer has an active search, we will still reach out to the officers in charge and verify they are ok with us coming in to do some searching, again it’s important to note, we are “Volunteers” so we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but also have them know what we are doing should an event occur where we may need their assistance. At this point it becomes coordination and also again working with the family. Also, they are never “the body” or “the victim”. Always use their name, the missing is someone’s family member first and foremost.  Also, by this point figuring out who is mission commander and again coordinating and working together is needed. We are one massive team and a shared workload helps everyone and coordination with admin for the data etc.

If something does not seem right, or there seems to be something odd about the request, or information and/or location of the search, never worry about asking Tim or Don to take a look and give some feedback on it. Some missions may not be legitimate requests or in a location, we have no ability to help in. Examples where we have had this happen. 275 miles out to sea, middle of the ocean, missing ship. Was written to us as no one else was searching, yet there was a fleet of ships looking for survivors and the sunken vessel. A couple who had their own relationship issues and one had fled to Mexico to get away and be left alone. Even though we had no pilots respond in Mexico, and with the political and safety factors with that case, we pointed them to the American Consulate.  With SWARMS mission to help families, keep in mind it’s in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, so if we can’t fly a mission, think before speaking with them, and use words wisely and think of alternative options, or just listen. Just listening and offering alternate search ideas and options means a lot to a family, who is so distressed that they cannot think straight, or just get stuck in a panic.


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