Here is how it works:
1. Fill out the BPO Trip Plan before you leave home.
2. Leave it or email it to someone that cares about you making it home safely. Think wife, husband, parents, etc., not your buddies at the bar.
3. Tell them to call the local agency number if you do not call or return by the time/date listed and give them the Trip Plan.
4. If your plans change en route, call or text your contact to update. Take an extra copy with you so if you do not have cell service, you can update the itinerary and leave it folded up on your dash. If a search is initiated, SAR personnel will have your car opened to get the form.
5. When you exit the back country, make sure you call or return before the time listed so no false reports are initiated
The information in the BPO Trip Plan, not only provides search and rescue teams with a Last Known Point to start the search process, but also provides the information needed to complete an Urgency Rating form to determine the appropriate response. SAR incident commanders have to manage risk for their teams and rely on this Urgency Rating as one of the evaluation tools. You can download and view that form here:
If your party has multiple members, it is best if each member fills one out. If you roll with some stubborn friends, just add their full names to the additional info line in the "Itinerary" block. Tell them you want to buy them a sweet birthday gift and add their "Date of Birth" if you can. Dispatch will start pulling info from those two pieces of information if needed.
Information can be saved in either form, allowing you to update only the information that changes on each trip, i.e. Start Date/Location, Return Date/Location, Destination, Itinerary, etc.
Download a "Print Only" version here for old school users of writing instruments:
Download a "fillable" version here:
View a completed example here:
Special thanks goes to Mike Adams of South Carolina. Mike was in my original Survival 101 class years ago when I was still scratching these trip plans out on paper. Mike developed a detailed Excel version, which pushed the plans into 21st century. Simplifying it, is courtesy of my stubborn friends and hikers that refused anything more than one page. Thanks also goes to the Alaska State Troopers for their template, Billy Chrimes of VDEM and Bryan Saunders of Black Diamond SAR Council for their input.
* These forms were created with Word 2010. The format changes with 2007, but we will continue to upgrade and fix any problems.
BigPig Outdoors Trip Plan - The BPO Trip Plan is designed to alert Search and Rescue personnel if you do not return from your adventures and the information provided greatly speeds up the search process. From my experience as Search and Rescue provider, I know firsthand that early notification and this basic form can mean the difference between life and death. Left with family members, a trusted friend, or a coworker, this can insure that the proper personnel are notified if a problem arises. The bottom line is that trip plans save time in the investigation phase, and saving time saves lives. The best part is that this simple and effective signalling tool is free to download. Help us, help you.
Smoky Mountain Bushcraft & Survival School