Our application period has come to a close! The application period will reopen in the fall. If you are interested in joining Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, we encourage you to attend our general meetings and talk to a board member about staying involved until the next regular recruitment cycle. There are many ways to contribute to the team beyond field operations. Email recruitment@pnwsar.org for more information or to request to be added to the correspondence list.

Things you should know before submitting an application:

  • All members must be 18 or older.
  • We are a 100% volunteer organization and do not get paid for our work.
  • Callouts occur at any hour (day or night) in all types of weather conditions, and are urgent in nature. Carefully consider your availability and flexibility.
  • We search for all kinds of people in a variety of situations, including missing hikers, hunters, children, Alzheimer’s patients, and suicide victims. We also complete body recoveries and evidence searches. You always have the option to decline a particular callout, but we want to be upfront that we do more than just find missing hikers.
  • Membership is not a quick process. There are a number of state and team requirements that must be met before you can respond to callouts. The length of time to complete all requirements varies due to differences in schedules, but we will impose reasonable time limits to meet these requirements.
  • Search and rescue can be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. But it can also be the most unforgiving and unappreciated work as well.

Check out our FAQS page to learn more about what we do. If you have further questions about PNWSAR, please email moreinfo@pnwsar.org. We'd love to hear from you!

Onboarding Process

Our onboarding process involves three stages: Applicant, Prospective Member, and Trainee.


Complete the online application and pay a $55 fee (the fee is refunded if you are not selected) during an application cycle.

If your application is accepted, we will schedule an in-person interview where you will meet members of our Board of Directors and Training Committee.

After the in-person interview, we will select applicants to move to the next stage as Prospective Members. You will be notified of our decision, regardless if you are asked to move forward or not.

Prospective Member

Prospective Membership lasts for three months. This is your opportunity to learn the ins and outs of SAR and our team. As a prospective member, you are required to attend:

  • Prospective Member classroom sessions – Must attend at least two out of three.
  • General membership meetings – Must attend at least two out of three.
  • Monthly field training with the team – Must attend at least two out of three.
  • Training Days March 2nd and 3rd
  • Trainee Selection Day – May 19th, 2023 - a day of field exercises where we gauge your aptitude for SAR and teamwork skills. It also includes a fitness test, which is an Oregon state requirement.

At the conclusion of the Prospective Member period, the Board of Directors will vote on candidates to join our team with a Trainee Status. You will be notified of our decision, regardless if you are asked to move forward or not.


As a Trainee you will have one year to attain the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association certification as a SAR volunteer. (Don’t worry, our internal training program will help you achieve this.)

You can respond to callouts once we confirm you’ve met the minimum qualifications (detailed below). Responding to callouts is one of the best ways to learn during this time!

During your first year in SAR, plan to log 150 - 200 hours on training exercises, meetings, and missions. Our expectation is that Trainees are fully engaged with the team while working toward attaining their certification.

Minimum Qualifications

You do not need to meet all of the qualifications below before you apply, but you will be required to meet them to become certified.

  • Basic First Aid and CPR certification, or higher (First Responders, EMTs, Paramedics, etc. meet this requirement).
  • Outdoor experience is not required, but you do need to be in good physical shape and pass an annual fitness test.
  • Pass a background check through the Hood River County Sheriff's Office.
  • Register with Oregon Emergency Management
  • Meet or exceed the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association search and rescue certification standards. (We train you internally to meet this requirement.)
  • Complete FEMA Courses IS-100, IS-200, and IS-700.
  • Meet the minimum quarterly training hours required by the state and our bylaws.
  • Must supply and maintain your own equipment (see our equipment list below).
  • We encourage you to apply even if you don’t have everything on the list. In fact, we advise against purchasing new gear for SAR until you’ve had time to discuss options with our current members. We’ll let you know ahead of time what things are critical and what items you can wait on.

2024 Schedule

We're often asked about the time commitment required of our team members. Here is an outline of the 2024 training schedule to give you an idea of our non-mission commitments. Note: These are tentative and subject to change.

Monthly Meetings (in-person or virtual)


  • Second Tuesday of every month
  • Prospects/Trainees: 6:00pm - 7:00pm (March - October)
  • Full Team: 7:00pm - 9:00pm (January - November)
  • Prospects and Trainees attend the Full Team meetings starting in March

2024 In-Person Field Training for Prospective Members


  • Mandatory training weekend March 2nd and 3rd
  • March 16th and 17th
  • April 20th and 21st
  • May 18th
  • And mandatory qualification day May 19th

2024 In-Person Field Training for Trainee Members

*Trainees who meet operational requirements are eligible to take part in missions*

  • June 22nd and 23rd
  • July 13th, 20th, and 21st
  • August 17th and 18th
  • September 21st and 22nd
  • October 19th and 20th
  • November 16th
Required Personal Equipment