How to Volunteer for Search and Rescue

Contact Local Units or Sheriff's Office

Search and rescue units are located throughout Washington State. If you are interested in joining a search and rescue unit in your area, you can find contact information on our SAR Units by County page. If you live in a county that does not have a SAR unit listed, you can ask if a search and rescue program exists by contacting the Sheriff's Office or Department of Emergency Management in your county.

Attend and Complete Required Training and Testing

There are a number of required training components that include Federal (FEMA IS-100 and IS-700 Independent Study course), State (Core Competency or similar basic search and rescue skills course), and even County requirements. Using volunteers on missions that have completed these training requirements means several things. First, the responders will understand how to engage in moderate and high risk activities by conducting risk assessments and using situational awareness to engage in competent decision making processes. Second, the responders will work to ensure the mission goes smoothly and as efficiently as possible, resulting in more positive outcomes for the lost persons in our state. Search and rescue responders take written and physical exams to ensure they understand the various topics and can put key skills into practice.

Respond to Missions and Attend Ongoing Training

After completing training and testing, new responders are finally ready to deploy on missions. For search and rescue responders, the ultimate goal is to be able to assist those lost and injured who need assistance. However, just because the initial training period is complete does not mean that training is over. Many search and rescue skills are perishable and responders need to undertake ongoing training to keep skills up. In addition, there are other training offerings, depending on the unit, that allow members to learn new skills and grow in ability and capability.