How To Join a Search And Rescue Team
by Dana McGuire
Search and rescue is a service provided by most county's Sheriff's Departments or Emergency Management Agencies. It is usually a voluntary organization that responds 24/7 to a variety of calls. Joining a group is as simple as contacting your local team! Here are some steps to take.
Difficulty: Moderately challenging
Call your county sheriff's office and inquire about search and rescue operations. They will be able to guide you to someone who can give you more information. Most teams have monthly meetings and training sessions.
Go to a meeting and learn what rescue work is really about and whether you can handle the physical and mental aspects of it. Much of SAR work is skills that must be learned one by one over time and can take a better part of a year with monthly meetings to gather into your "tool box". But many you may already posses.
Find the person on the team who is responsible for welcoming new guests after the meeting and ask lots of questions. Let him or her know whether you're interested in joining.
Attend at least three meetings and one or two training sessions to make sure you and the team are compatible (some teams are fairly intense and are run like the army).
Tips & Warnings
- Understand that, while all teams have different training methods, most will expect you to get some training outside the team, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced first aid.
- Search and rescue work inherently holds some danger, which is why members are trained and why training is ongoing. Remember you are putting yourself into the same situation as the victim became lost and/or injured in.
- Most parts of rescue work hold some danger, which is why members are trained and why training is ongoing year after year.
- Search and Rescue requires that you commit your time - make sure you have it available.
© 2007 Dana McGuire