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Factors that Affect the Success of Search and Rescue Missions : Perceptions of Search and Rescue Crews of Malaysian Police Air Wing

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The Malaysian Police Air Wing has a Search and Rescue Unit that actuates Search and Rescue using aircraft and aviation related equipment. The personnel involved are trained professionals with vast experiences. This paper investigated the factors that contributed to the success of Search and Rescue Missions in lieu with aircraft, equipment, experiences, and management. The results were mixed and several initiatives were proposed to mitigate existing predicaments.
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International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 10, Issue 11, November 2020 235
ISSN 2250-3153
This publication is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.
http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.10.11.2020.p10727 www.ijsrp.org
Factors that Affect the Success of Search and Rescue
Missions : Perceptions of Search and Rescue Crews of
Malaysian Police Air Wing
Mohd Harridon1,2, Ainan Syabil Shukri1
1Aviation Fitness Cluster Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology
2European Paratroopers
DOI: 10.29322/IJSRP.10.11.2020.p10727
http://dx.doi.org/10.29322/IJSRP.10.11.2020.p10727
Abstract-The Malaysian Police Air Wing has a Search and
Rescue Unit that actuates Search and Rescue using aircraft and
aviation related equipment. The personnel involved are trained
professionals with vast experiences. This paper investigated the
factors that contributed to the success of Search and Rescue
Missions in lieu with aircraft, equipment, experiences, and
management. The results were mixed and several initiatives were
proposed to mitigate existing predicaments.
Index Terms- Aviation Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue
Crews, Management Responses
I. INTRODUCTION
n Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, several factors
contributed to the success of the missions. SAR roles are to
search for victims and rescue them. Environments, such as
extreme weather, high winds, and others, also played a role in the
actuation of the missions. According to Polka, for a SAR mission
to be successful, the organization that was responsible for the
SAR should be equipped with state of the art equipment and
vehicles [1]. Polka also mentioned that a well oiled methodology
was also needed to perform seamless SAR operations [1].
Bogue stated that in the light of current situation it is best to
consider new technology and equipment for SAR purposes [2].
Bogue even stipulated that it was imperative to gain requirements
from stakeholders in order to utilize proper and appropriate
equipment for SAR [2]. We found this interesting and important
as the research from Bogue had fueled us to actuate our research
pertaining to equipment of SAR (this is part of this paper).
Cokorilo had investigated components of SAR and she
stated that the type and number of aircraft needed for SAR were
gravely important and these acted as factors that decided the
success of SAR missions [3]. Cokorilo also went further and had
analyzed accident statistics where this had gave an overall view
of the SAR ecosystem [3].
We had postulated that in SAR it was important for SAR
management to act swiftly and response quickly to alerts in SAR
in order to gain successful SAR missions. We had posed this
situation to our respondents and their responses were shown in
the Results Section of this paper. Braga agreed with us and he
stated that in any organizations and industry, it’s vital for
responses from management be swift and delivered efficiently so
that the objectives were met [4]. Braga also iterated that this
should be integrated into the culture of most organizations in
order to maintain continuity and consistency [4].
For our research, we had used the 4 Point Likert Scale to
gain responses from the SAR Crews of the Malaysian Police Air
Wing. Willits had pointed out that the usage of Likert Scale was
valid and through various literature reviews and analyses Willits
concluded that any condemnations of the scale were bogus and
invalid [5]. Willits also affirmed that the scale could be used to
extract vital information from the respondents or individuals [5].
Sullivan had analyzed in great details the utilization of
Likert Scale and she pointed out that the scale was widely used
for assessments of workers and was hugely popular in the
educational field [6]. Sullivan stipulated that the scale was
utilized by various medical organizations that gauged patients
satisfactions and others [6]. With this, our approach in the
utilization of the Likert Scale was valid and in complete
agreement with others in various fields.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
Aviation Search and Rescue is important as it saves lives
and contributes to the recoveries of assets and people. Aronica
had concluded that SAR is a combination of personnel, tools,
vehicles, and others that work in concert to accomplish a mission
[7]. Aronica had developed an application that aided the SAR
missions by calculating the most appropriate path to be taken to
conduct the SAR [7].
Harridon had stipulated that in SAR the most vital entity
was the selection of the aircraft to be used where the selection
should be based upon performances of the aircraft during SAR
missions [8]. This is actually part of Management of SAR
Operations where good management would entail appropriate
decisions were made to select the best aircraft, equipment, and
resources. Harridon further opinionated that proper selection
would reduce wastage during SAR operations and would impart
significant efficiency throughout the missions [8].
Koester acknowledged that SAR is important and he had
produced a new algorithm that conducted SAR in a much
efficient manner [9]. With this advent, those involved in SAR
were not confronted with wastage in terms of time or resources
I
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[9]. We applauded this effort and our research dwell upon this
matter which was term as “facilities” since “facilities”
encompassed physical and non physical entities (such as search
algorithm and methodology).
According to the National Search and Rescue Committee
(NSARC), it is imperative for agencies involved in SAR to be
equipped with aircraft which are suitable for SAR operations and
their numbers should also be adequate [10]. NSARC also
commented that these aircraft should be in suitable conditions,
ready to fly when alerts are received [10].
In a review of SAR operations, Jacobs stated that there
were insufficient number of SAR aircraft in the Alaskan Region
and this was detrimental to those that resided or worked in that
particular region [11]. Jacobs further recommended that aircraft
and other SAR equipment be added to bases or agencies that
actuated SAR in that region [11]. Jacobs was particularly
sympathetic towards workers in the Oil & Gas industry that
worked in perilous environment at the Alaskan Region [11]. We
agreed with this issue and we posed this issue to the SAR crews
of the Malaysian Police Air Wing and the responses were mixed.
Another issue of SAR was regarding the prompt responses
from management when SAR alerts were received. Williams had
gone through several cases where he studied responses from
management and he stipulated that it was vital that responses
from management be quick and without any delay [12]. He was
concerned on the confusion and havoc that were created due to
non responsiveness from management [12]. We portrayed this
issue to the crews of Malaysian Police Air Wing and the
portrayal was via 4 Point Likert Scale.
Jia had used the Likert Scale to compare cultures from
different countries [13]. Jia had collected data of students from
universities across 16 countries and the collection was via Likert
Scale [13]. Jia stated that the Likert Scale was able to perform
the comparison and was satisfied with the outcome [13].
Chimi explained that the utilization of Likert Scale had
provided advantages in terms of comprehensive analyses [14].
Chimi also stated that the scale had the ability to capture hidden
meanings and topics which were sensitive were easily discerned
by the scale [14].
Janda had also used Likert Scale for her research pertaining
to native language [15]. She had applied the scale to measure the
nuances of the native speakers and had given the speakers several
verbs in order to capture the responses from the speakers [15].
We can evidently observed that the application of Likert Scale
was myriad in numerous different circumstances and this
somehow validated our usage of the scale in capturing the
responses of the SAR crews of the Malaysian Police Air Wing.
III. METHODOLOGY
Figure 1 showed the methodology of our research.
Figure 1. Our Research Methodology
Through heuristic we had identified 2 factors that
contributed to the success of missions of SAR. Those 2 factors
were “facilities & aircraft” and “responses from management”.
Facilities were denoted as physical facilities and non physical
facilities (such as search methodology and axiom). These 2
factors were integrated with the 4 Point Likert Scale and we
portrayed them to the SAR crews of the Malaysian Police Air
Wing.
We had calculated the minimum required number of
respondents where the calculation was based upon the Sample
Size Equation. The following values were inserted into the
equation : population size = 253, confidence level = 80%, and
margin of error = 5%. The population size is the total number of
SAR crews at the Malaysian Police Air Wing. The calculation
revealed that we needed 100 respondents and we had gained that
100 respondents which met the minimum requirement. We had
also interviewed the SAR crews with regards to their experiences.
Their experiences were required as these were used to aid
our analyses of the responses from the Likert Scale. We went
further where we had calculated the Cronbach Alpha of our
responses and factors and we had gained a value of 0.7082. This
showed that our method was acceptable, consistent, and had
sufficient reliability. It had to be noted that the responses which
consisted of “strongly agree”, “agree”, “disagree”, and “strongly
disagree” were denoted as 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively in order to
calculate the Cronbach Alpha value.
The responses were represented in graphical forms and
analyzed. Discussions and conclusions were actuated based upon
the responses and also were cross checked against the
experiences of the SAR personnel. This gave credence to our
analyses, discussion, and conclusion.
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IV. RESULTS
The results are shown in Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Figure 2. Experiences of Crews
Figure 3. Facilities and Aircraft
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Figure 4. Agreement & Disagreement - Facilities & Aircraft
Figure 5. Responses From Management
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Figure 6. Agreement and Disagreement - Responses from Management
V. DISCUSSION
Peering at Figure 2, it can be seen that majority of the
SAR crews (84%) had more than 10 years experiences. This was
an exceptionally good figure as the SAR operations were
performed by individuals that were well versed in SAR and had
the fortitude to handle emergencies that existed. Only 4% of the
crews had experiences between 1 till 5 years. This seems to be a
concern but we managed to get hold of information which
indicated that new crews were properly trained before they were
allowed to be part of the SAR operations. Also experiences here
also mean the ability of the SAR crews to use appropriate
methods and tools to maintain their physical fitness. Crews that
had enormous experiences were able to identify the appropriate
method to enhance their fitness level. Harridon had studied the
realm of physical fitness in the field of Aviation and results of
the study had shown that high level of physical fitness is
important in maintaining safety and delivering outputs [16].
Harridon also stated that physical fitness is a continuous process
that should be ingrained in one’s culture [16].
In Figure 3, the crews were posed with the statement “the
facilities and aircraft for SAR missions were adequate”. A great
number had disagreed (53%) and 25% of the crews had strongly
disagreed. Only 11% agreed and 11% strongly agreed. This was
a grave issue where the majority had stated that the facilities and
aircraft were not in sufficient manner in terms of numbers and
appropriateness. This should be taken seriously as majority of the
crews with more than 10 years experiences had deemed it so.
Those with extensive experiences would know best, hence we
proposed a review upon the budgetary constraints of the
organization in order to acquire more aircraft and improve
current facilities.
Figure 4 showed the holistic representation of
“agreement” and “disagreement” pursuant to the issue of
facilities and aircraft of SAR operations. 78% of the crews
stipulated that the facilities and aircraft were not adequate while
22% stated otherwise. This 22% might had not been attached to
numerous SAR missions and thus could not offer a
comprehensive view of the situation. But we cautioned that more
questionings should be in placed to extract reasons of their
stipulations with regards to the adequacy of facilities and aircraft.
In figure 5 we had posed an issue regarding responses
from management when SAR alerts were received. 91% of the
crews strongly agreed that swift and quick responses from
management were needed in order to increase the chances of
finding the victims and saving lives. 9% of the crews also agreed
with this notion. There were no disagreements regarding this. It
had to be stated that SAR crews of different degrees and levels of
experiences were in unison for responses be actuated in a prompt
and quick manner. Its plausible that all crews were indoctrinated
to act swiftly during emergencies where this indoctrination was
done during basic SAR training.
In Figure 6, which showed the holistic representation of
agreement and disagreement, it can be observed that 100% of the
SAR crews were in agreement that fast responses were needed
from management. It would be best if those in management were
integrated with the hands-on crew so that they could produce
decisions on the spot during SAR alerts. This means those in
management were also required to be on call in order to facilitate
the decision making processes.
VI. CONCLUSIONS
We had gauged the responses of the SAR crews of the
Malaysian Police Air Wing. Factors that affected the success of
SAR missions were aircraft, facilities, and responses from
management. Data and analyses indicated that facilities and
aircraft had to be in appropriate manner in terms of numbers and
adequacy in order for SAR sorties to be accomplished
successfully and efficiently. Responses of SAR management
were also vital and had to be prompt in order to actuate actions
early so that victims could be located in a timely manner and
lives could be saved.
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AUTHORS
First Author – Mohd Harridon, Aviation Fitness Cluster
Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation
Technology, mdharridon@unikl.edu.my
Second Author – Ainan Syabil Shukri, Aviation Fitness Cluster
Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation
Technology
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