Hawaii Sar Con

August 1 -2, 2024

NOMINATE YOUR HERO Platform for sharing proving tools, technology and training.


Press & Media

Read more about our previous special guests:

Survivorman, Les Stroud: 


And Rick Stanton from the 2018 cave rescue mission of the youth Thai soccer team:

Thank you for joining our last one of a kind Wilderness Awareness Community Safety event | Search and Rescue Conference held on beautiful Oahu, at Kualoa Ranch (home of Jurassic Park)!  

About this event

On August 8th a catastrophic firestorm swept through the west side of the island of Maui, in Hawaii. As these lessons learned are so valuable – around the world – as of 1/19/2024 the Hawai‘i SAR CON will be virtual ONLY with sessions in:

  • Lessons Learned from Maui Wildfires
  • Critical Communications during SAR
  • Essentials of sUAS use in SAR
  • Women in SAR – Diversity and Inclusion 
  • Mental Health and Well-Being for SAR
  • GIS/GPS – Latest software in SAR
  • Wilderness Awareness Training
  • Prevention Best Practices
  • Essentials of Maritime SAR

Hawaii SAR CON is the only platform in Hawaii for sharing the latest tools, technology, and training with all emergency services, public safety, search and rescue agencies and civilian volunteers. This networking event is the foundation where relationships and communications are built, enabling everyone to work together, more effectively, and efficiently to save lives.

We welcome all who have an interest in hearing the lessons learner from boots on the ground as well as best practices of tools, training, and technology from around the world that can be implemented into your SAR team.


The original Hawaii SAR CON | Wilderness Awareness Community Safety Event |Search and Rescue Conference in 2022, with Special Guest Survivorman, Les Stroud (Hawai’i SAR CON) made Hawaiian history.This groundbreaking event established the singular platform in the state for professional rescuers and community members, facilitating various activities and training sessions. It played a pivotal role in fostering communication and relationships essential for effective collaboration in life-saving efforts.

Uniting communities for Safety and Rescue excellence brings together community volunteers and agency personnel from diverse entities, including county Police, Fire, and Ocean Safety units, Sheriff, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol, National Guard, Watermen/women, Lifeguards, Emergency Management Service, Public Safety, DLNR, DOFAW, Helicopter Pilots, and First Responders. This event serves as the foundational hub, empowering relationships and enhancing communication lines for the safety of the state.

Engage in tactical experiences, demonstrations, and expert training covering essential SAR skills at Hawai‘i SAR CON. From GIS software and man tracking to K9 handler training and wilderness first aid, Hawai‘i SAR CON provides an all-encompassing platform. Lectures and speakers address critical topics such as body forensics, resource management, community-led search operations, and problem prevention planning. Anticipate more exciting developments in 2024.

Hawaii’s exclusive event focuses on community enrichment, prevention, and safety experiences, enhancing skills for Search and Rescue among professionals and civilian volunteers. Explore the latest tools and technologies tailored to the unique challenges of the Hawaiian landscape. Collaborating with partners such as local volunteer organizations, government agencies, first responders, and commercial communication carriers, this event amplifies its impact.

Hawai‘i SAR CON remains the singular platform uniting community volunteers and agency personnel from various entities, establishing a foundational approach to empower relationships and increase communication lines for the safety of the state.



Hawai‘i SAR CON is Hawaii’s ONLY event of this kind focuses on community enriching prevention and safety experiences and enhancing the skills within the purview of Search and Rescue for both professionals and civilian volunteers.

Exploring the benefits of the latest tools and technologies available, with specific applicability to the unique challenges that only the Hawaiian landscape holds. The Hawai‘i SAR CON is designed to provide an understanding of the latest tools, technologies and techniques used in the SAR sector by showcasing various brands of outdoor and survival accessories.

This event collaborates with a range of partners and networks to enhance our impact, including local volunteer organizations, government agencies, first responders, and commercial communication carriers.

Hawai‘i SAR CON is the ONLY platform in the state to bring together community volunteers with agency personnel from individual county Police, Fire and Ocean Safety units, Sheriff, Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol, National Guard, Watermen/women, Lifeguards, Emergency Management Service, Public Safety, DLNR, DOFAW, Helicopter Pilots and First Responders.  Hawaii SAR CON has established the foundation to empower relationships as a means to increase the lines of communications for all involved in the safety of our state.


The Hawai‘i SAR CON is designed to provide an understanding of the latest technologies and techniques used in the SAR world by showcasing various brands and survival accessories for the wilderness.

Lessons Learned from Maui Wildfires

Featuring panels of first responders and many of the unsung heros from the catastrophic event of August 8th, 2023. 

Critical Communications during SAR

Communication is the lifeline during a natural disaster.  Learn the essentials when the grid is knocked out.  Hawaii SAR CON will give participants a chance to learn the basics from professionals on how to use essential tools in wilderness and beyond.

Essentials of sUAS use in SAR

This unique virtual conference will provide a chance for professional rescuers and community members to have remote  training of drones flight, image analysis, mission planning and execution, GIS software in search planning, and more by providing sponsors.

Women in SAR – Diversity and Inclusion

Recognizing diversity and supporting a culture is a critical component to success. Committing to building a strong and supportive community, providing relevant educational materials and resources, and helping build a pipeline that supports women in leadership within SAR.

Mental Health and Well-Being for SAR

Understanding and recognizing prolonged stress from call outs and the impact on mental well-being and acknowledging the potential effects of PTSD is vital.  Promoting awareness of resources and fostering a proactive approach to mental health  is essential in maintaining resilience of first responders. Hawaii SAR CON participants will be provided coping tools to achieve and maintain self-care and balance.

GIS/GPS – Latest software in SAR

Use of GPS/GIS is evident in SAR missions as it helps in finding the exact location of a person. It provides information for regions where little or no mapping information is available. Hawaii SAR CON will provide an opportunity to its participants to learn this amazing technology remotely.

Wilderness Awareness Training

Wilderness Awareness Training will be available as well as other opportunities to learn and network with experts. Individuals are encouraged to participate in the broad range of activities and trainings for professional rescuers, wilderness enthusiast, and community members.

Prevention Best Practices

Prevention Search and Rescue programs help to educate people about safety in difficult environments. This event will provide attendees a unique and valuable chance to learn and connect with experts in prevention search and rescue from arounnd the United States.

Essentials of Maritime SAR 

Showcasing the latest techniques and products used for Side Scan, Collision Avoidance Sonars, Depth Sounders/Altimeters to optimize underwater search and recovery.

Previous Speakers & Instructors Included

Special Guest: Survivorman, Les Stroud

Les Stroud, the host and producer of the popular “Survivorman” series who sparked the multibillion-dollar Wilderness Survival TV industry, who is also launching SurvivorlanVR later this year, will be a special guest. Stroud‘s unique knowledge of wilderness survival mindset has made him a household name. He is also an instructor and special resource volunteer with Jackson Country SAR (JCSAR) in Southern Oregon. With more than 76 Producer credits and over 100 film credits he is also an author, recording artist, and musician who performs around the country. Stroud hosts the Surviving Life with Les Stroud podcast and is currently hosting Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest on PBS which explores foraging wild foods in season from local sources.

Regan Lipinski

Regan is the Training Director for Marine Sonic Technology, where he Instructs Police, Fire, & Military how to Locate, Document, and Recover Criminal Evidence, Historical Artifacts, and Derelict Mines. He began his position after serving 18 years in Law Enforcement with a primary focus on Maritime Security & Investigations. In 1996 Regan joined the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman & Military Police Investigations. He served on many specialized teams to include SRT (Special Reaction Team), DST (Drug Suppression Team), QRF (Quick Reaction Force), but his primary function was plain clothed Investigator for crimes against people. In 2002 he left the Army and began a career with the Newport News Police Department in VA where earned the rank of Master Police Officer and was in charge of the Marine Unit & served on the Tactical Operations Unit. During his tenure he developed the Basic Marine Operations Course which was used throughout the State of VA and was bestowed many awards to include a Silver Medal of Valor & a Commendation from the United States Senate. In 2011 while still working for the Newport News Police Department he was asked to serve as a Federal Special Agent with CGIS (Coast Guard Investigative Service) in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. In 2013 Regan accepted a position with Marine Sonic Technology as the Training Director and travels all over the world training MST customers on side scan sonar & underwater imaging. MST specializes in manufacturing Side Scan Sonar Systems for Police, Fire, & Military Agencies. In 2015 he was asked to appear on the History Channel and since then he has made over 20 television appearances as a Marine Search and Survey Expert. Some of the shows consist of Hunting Hitler, JFK Declassified Tracking Oswald, Buried Knights Templar, Legends of the Deep with Celine & Fabien Cousteau, Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates, Drain The Oceans, and Unexplained & Unexplored.

Liz King

Liz King is the Preventative Search and Rescue Manager for the TCSAR Foundation in Jackson, WY. She joined the Foundation in 2019 after spending the previous 11 years with NOLS teaching horsepacking, backcountry skiing, backpacking, and instructor development courses. In her role with TCSAR, Liz manages the Backcountry Zero program. It is a community outreach and education initiative working to eliminate preventable backcountry deaths and life-changing injuries in the Teton region. During the winter months Liz also works as a backcountry ski guide and avalanche educator.

Dr. Katelynn Perrault

Dr. Perrault is an Associate Professor of Forensic Sciences and Chemistry at Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii.
Kate is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Forensic and Bioanalytical Chemistry. She has a synergistic research, teaching, and outreach program, mentoring numerous undergraduate students and volunteering at community events to promote the awareness of chemistry and the forensic sciences to both adults and children. Her research group uses chemistry to understand the decomposition of human and animal remains in outdoor environments, and focuses predominantly on the odor produced during decomposition. She has collaborated with several police agencies, outdoor research facilities, search and recovery groups, and volunteer organizations worldwide.

Jason Torlano – World Class Skier & Rock Climber

Jason Torlano is a former Yosemite park ranger, a US Army vet, and a volunteer Search and Rescue medic overseas with the Free Burma Rangers. He is also a 40-year resident of Yosemite National Park and has since completed 32 first ski descents, including LeConte Gully, Taft Point, Crocker Point, Clouds Rest and Dewey Point. Most notably, he made history by becoming the first skier to descend Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome, a steep vertical granite face last February. They used ropes to rappel less than 300 feet of their 4,640-foot descent. He has been rock climbing since the age of 17 and today he specializes in using ropes to work in high-altitude and dangerous settings.

Fernando Moreira

For more than 35 years Fernando has trained trackers from search and rescue teams, law enforcement officers, military personnel and outdoor enthusiasts across the United States as well as in several foreign countries. He initially became interested in the art of man-tracking while serving in the Portuguese army in Angola. He has utilized his skill in tracking on a nearly daily basis since then. Fernando has also assisted law enforcement officers in finding crucial evidence in many high-profile missing persons and homicide cases across the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.

Kevin Cooper

Search and Rescue Program Manager at U.S. Coast Guard District Fourteen in Honolulu, HI. Kevin oversees maritime and aeronautical SAR from Hawaii to Guam and as far south as Kiribati. He previously retired from active duty after 26 years of experience in maritime search and rescue as a rescue boat captain, SAR Mission Coordinator and Joint Rescue Coordination Center Chief.

Shay Cook – SAR K9 Handler

Shay has been training with K9 SAR since 1995 in Trailing, Cadaver, Wilderness Area, and more recently Disaster with FEMA. She is a member of the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA), Alameda County Sheriff Search and Rescue (ALCO), Marin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (MSAR), Yosemite Search and Rescue Dog Team (YODOGS), and FEMA Oakland Task Force 4 (TF4). Shay has been training dogs since 1986 and has worked with dogs in Schutzhund, guide dogs for the blind, obedience, socialization, tracking, herding, and scent detection. Shay’s professional job is as an Assistant Director at UC Davis and currently working on exploring “Scent Navigation” with other researchers. She has presented at SAREX, SAR City, and other events throughout the US and appreciates sharing what I have learned and getting feedback/perspective from others.

Gregory Pratt

Gregory spent 22 years as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) before retiring in December 2019. Upon completion of the FBI Academy, Greg reported to the San Antonio Division of the FBI, where he spent his entire career. Early in his career, Greg worked on squads investigating White Collar Crime, Government Fraud, and Public Corruption. He also served as the Training Agent and Active Shooter Coordinator for the San Antonio Division of the FBI. Greg spent the last several years of his career assigned to the Domestic Terrorism Squad on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). In this capacity, Greg and his squad mates investigated threats to carry out acts of violence on schools, businesses, and places of worship. Greg had several collateral duties while serving in the FBI, to include Crisis/Hostage Negotiator, Airport Liaison Agent, Campus Liaison Agent, Surveillance Pilot, and Crisis Management Coordinator. In addition, Greg served as a Team Leader for the Evidence Response Team (ERT). While serving on ERT, Greg and his team processed the crime scenes of the Active Shooter Events at Fort Hood and Sutherland Springs Baptist Church. Prior to working for the FBI, Greg was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and was later commissioned in the United States Navy, where he served as a Naval Flight Officer for six years. Greg graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He has both his Private and Remote (Drone) Pilot Licenses. Greg lives in Boerne, TX with his wife Barbara. They have grown twin children, Jacob and Amelia. Greg has assisted in Search and Rescue missions in the past and most recently assisted with the search for missing hiker Samuel Martinez on the island of Kauai.

Dana McLaughlin

Lt Col Dana McLaughlin has been involved in Search and Rescue for over 30 years. She has a Master’s Degree in learning and brain science from MIT. She is a private pilot, retired Paramedic, and was a Mission Ready K9 handler for over a decade, including being a Type 1 Ground Pounder, NASAR FUNSAR Instructor, and a Civil Air Patrol Incident Commander. Dana has participated in hundreds of searches, and her K9s, in over 100. Dana was on the search for Steve Fossett in 2007 and worked for FEMA during the 2004 hurricane season in Florida.

Kimberlyn Scott

Kimberlyn is an activist who champions bills in legislation which impact search and rescue efforts and missing persons. She is a victim/family advocate for Missing Persons in Hawaii and founded Maui Search and Rescue (MSAR) in 2014. She is the go-to person in Hawaii when a loved one goes missing. In addition to advocating for the missing, victims rights, and mental health issues within the community, she also serves Secretary of Maui Multicultural Advisory Committee (MMAC).

Ben Larson

Ben has been teaching Wilderness First Aid for twenty years as he continuesn his life-long passion for adventuring. With a strong educational foundation, and utilizing a broad set of skills and experience, after fifteen years of directing camps and conference centers, and completing a Masters in Tourism Management Ben created Next Adventure Company where he offers Adventure travel in Colorado and Hawaii where he is currently a Dive Instructor.

Becca Frager

Becca has been conducting technical rope rescues with wilderness SAR teams since she first started volunteering with SAR in the Colorado Rockies in 2003. In Colorado, she volunteered for Larimer County Search and Rescue and Alpine Rescue teams, two busy SAR teams who generally see over 100 missions per year. In Colorado, Becca conducted technical rescues at popular climbing areas, backcountry peaks, and has assisted the Rocky Mountain National Park SAR team as needed. Becca moved to Oahu in 2015 and has volunteered for Oahu Search and Rescue since. Becca is part of OSAR’s high angle ropes team and has assisted with technical search and rescue operations on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. Becca also volunteers with Search and Rescue in southeast Oregon. Becca serves as the team’s Director of Training and holds certificates in Technical Rescue skills which meet NFPA Standards and the ASTM ‘Advanced Rope Rescuer Endorsement’. Becca has worked as a rock climbing guide in Colorado, has used her rappelling skills to assist with invasive species removal in Hawaii, and hopes to use her skills to assist the community and the aina however she can.

Ethan Pearson-Pomerants

Ethan has been the leader of Oahu Search and Rescue for 7 years, and focuses on Search Management, as well as assisting with teaching parts of the initial qualifications curriculum. He is also a certified Wilderness First Responser and Part 107 drone pilot.

Stacy Haruguchi

Lt Col Stacy Haruguchi (USAF, Retired) is a former F-15E and FA-18 Weapon Systems Officer (WSO). He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the US Air Force Academy and a Masters in Management Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University. Stacy has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol since 2015 and participated in disaster assessment surveys, SAR missions and Urban Direction Finding missions in both Nevada and Hawaii

Bill Weber

Bill have been a member of Alameda County’s Sheriff’s Rescue Unit since 1972, a Life Member of NASAR since the late 1970’s (Life Member # 0133). Have boated rivers throughout the Western US and rowed the Grand Canyon three times. Have also run rivers in Japan, Chile, and Africa. Was an active Guide trainer for Friends of the River in California for many years. I have presented previously at NASAR Conferences, at SAR City in Barstow CA, at SAREX which is sponsored by the State of California Office of Emergency Services, our local BATSAR (Bay Area Training for Search and Rescue) event, and several community college SAR programs as well as serving several terms as the training officer for our unit.

Michael Oakland

Lieutenant Michael Oakland is creating and running Community Relations Section at Sheriff’s Department (State of Hawaii) , which includes Peer Support, Chaplain Corps and Sheriff Reserves. He too ran the Canine Unit in the Special Operations Section and started the Canine Unit while the commander at the Airport Patrol Section at the DKI Airport which included the surrounding business district, Kalaeloa and Dillingham Airfields. He also spent time on old Rapid Reaction Force while running K9. Michael was also in the US Air Force on active duty in transportation logistics, graduate of antiterrorist tactical driving courses, Desert Shield/Storm ( multiple Sheriff command and Military roles and a Persian Gulf War Veteran).

Edward Stankos

Edward is currently canine unit sergeant in charge of Sheriff’s department (State of Hawaii) canine that are in the Special Operations Section and those K9 are dual purpose animals in that they are trained in their specific scent, E.G. Narcotics, Explosives and Currency and includes patrol work (bite control work) and some have had training in man tracking but cannot be used in SAR because they are only used for locating felons. Sgt Stankos also assisted in running a K9 unit at the airport as the Administrative Sergeant at the DKI Airport and while in the US Coast Guard worked for the First Deputy on the Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST, multiple roles in the Sheriffs’ and the Military with multiple global deployments).

Lanikoa K Dobrowolsky

First Deputy Lanikoa Dobrowolsky, has previously overseen State of Hawaii’s Sheriff’s Department Special Operations Section which includes Canine (K9 Unit) and is very familiar with tactics and has been extremely supportive of the expansion of that unit to include SAR and has been able to get the attention and interest and what appears to be support of department’s leadership. This only touches on his vast experience as he has about 30 years in the US Army as a Ranger and is now working as the counterintelligence unit’s First Sergeant (selected as Sergeant Major), set up and ran the US Coast Guards Honolulu based MSST for anti-terrorism and is familiar with combat search and rescue operations (multiple commands and roles in the Sheriffs’ and the Military as well as a Persian Gulf and Afghanistan War Veteran).

Kenison Tejada

Kenison Tejada is a senior public safety advisor for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) and works with public safety agencies in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Before joining the FirstNet Authority in 2019, Kenison worked for the Honolulu Fire Department for more than 30 years. His last seven years were spent as the fire communications battalion chief; in this role, he worked to optimize communications, both emergency and non-emergency, and to coordinate statewide emergency communications.

As part of Hawaii’s emergency communications community, Kenison advocated on behalf of Hawaii public safety agencies to make new and future communications technology a high priority. His advocacy focused on three areas: 1) Hawaii’s need for a statewide migration plan to Next Generation 9-1-1, 2) Hawaii’s public safety community establishing a self-mandate to address their own needs, requirements, and use of FirstNet’s broadband system and capabilities, and 3) Detailed discussion and planning for how Hawaii will deal with federal legislation, regulations, and mandates. Kenison’s work to advance public safety communications has served as a foundational platform for his role at the FirstNet Authority.

If interested in sharing your knowledge, experience and unique techniques and /or demonstrating your latest technologies, please click apply to join the list of accomplished experts in 2024. 

The Hawaii Search and Rescue Conference is an invaluable event for all parties involved in a Search and Rescue, as well as Public Safety and Military personnel, and those who are interested in expanding related skills. There are no other events of its kind in the state, and due to the increasing need of Search and Rescue, this conference is designed to raise awareness, build relationships amongst interested participants and provide an understanding of the latest technologies and techniques used in the SAR world.

We are offering tailored activations and would be honored to showcase your BRAND and ask you to partner with our `ohana (family) for this much needed educational event. Together, we can continue to assist in the continual training of those individuals who help locate missing persons.

Along with networking with others in the industry, SAR leaders and prospects there are various Branding, Partnership, and Sponsorship Options which may include:

  • Showcasing your latest innovative technology solution
  • Brand Experiences
  • Opportunity to develop co-branded educational presentations/videos highlighting your product with conference participants
  • Social media content highlighting your product in use at conference with Hawaiian backdrop
  • Booth space to display product/brand at Conference
  • Recognition in marketing assets

Interested in Partnering with us, click here to request more info or please email: Partnerships@HawaiiSarCon.com

Educational partners

Outfitter and camping partner

Marine SAR Partner

Venue Partner

Food and Beverage Partners

Code of Conduct

Hawaii SAR CON is dedicated to providing a positive, harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Conference participants include attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff. All conference attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors attending the conference are required to abide to the conference Code of Conduct policy.


All attendees and exhibitors will be required to follow published Hawaii State Laws, Kualoa Ranch and Kualoa Regional Park polices, and Hawaii SARCON Covid-19 policy, that are in effect at the time of the Conference. Failure to do so will result in being removed from the Conference with no refund.

Additional Information

Event Restrictions and Cancellation

By purchasing a ticket and attending the Conference, you accept all Conference regulations and restrictions, including:

The organizer reserves the right to cancel the event wholly or in part in case of an insufficient number of participants, program cancellations, organizational reasons, changes of availability of speakers, force majeure or other unforeseeable events that render the execution of the event impossible and/or not worthwhile or that would lead to the organizer incurring unreasonable expenses in executing the event. The organizer shall immediately inform participants of such changes

Should an event be cancelled by the organizer for organizational reasons or as a result of force majeure, as outlined above, the organizer will refund the event fee in full. Claims for further liabilities or damages are excluded. Participants may not assert any further claims and any such claims shall be excluded.

Subject to Change Without Notice

The organizer reserves the right to make changes to the event program. If necessary, changes may be made to its content, method and organization before or during the event, without notice insofar as these changes do not substantially diminish the described benefits of the event for the participant.


General Questions:

Partnership Opportunities:

Speaker Inquiries:

Press Passes Application: HERE
Interview Requests:

Volunteer Opportunities:  HERE
Or reach out with to:

* On January 19, 2024, the Hawaii Tourism Authority declared that they would not provide any funding for this safety and prevention platform. Therefore, our in-person event is cancelled and we will be offering an online platform for 2024.  The online platform will continue until the state of Hawaii offers the same level of financial support as other states with similar or lower risk in the U.S., as the Hawaii SAR CON body cannot afford in-person events.