If you or someone in your group gets lost or injured in the wilderness there are some things you can do to help get found faster by Search and Rescue (SAR). Its important to note that after SAR has been contacted, it can take a few hours for them to get coordinated (generally 4-8 hours) before they can begin looking for you.
I generally recommend planning for the worst because the wilderness is an unpredictable place. So before you leave home tell someone your itinerary (e.g. where you're going and when you should be back), that way if you're not back in a reasonable amount of time someone can report you as missing.
Tip: I have been told by SAR in my area, that you can leave your hiking or backpacking trip plans in the glove compartment of your car, and they will generally search the vehicle for clues before starting to look for people. I am not sure if this is practiced by all SAR departments, so this procedure may vary between areas.
Below is a list of actions that can be taken so that SAR can find you faster.
Depending on how deep you are in the wilderness. you may or may not have cellular access to call 911. Its always worth trying. If there is no cell signal, still try SMSing someone for help.
If you can reach 911 for help be ready to provide them with the following information to assist them in finding you:
To help make it easy for SAR to find you, its important to make yourself as "visible" as possible.
Below is a list of some things you can do to help signal SAR where you're located:
When SAR finds you, they will check you and your party for injuries and/or illnesses, give you food, water, clothing, and shelter if needed. If you're immobile, SAR will do what they can to evacuate you.