Our Winter 2023 Application period is now closed. If you are interested in joining Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, we encourage you to attend one of our general meetings and submit an application during our next current recruitment cycle, which will likely take place in the fall. Please read the information below and contact us with any questions.
Things you should know before applying:
- 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 email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you!
Our onboarding process involves three stages: Application, Prospective Membership, and Trainee Status.
Complete the online application and pay a $55 fee (fee is refunded if you are not selected). Applications will be accepted until January 15, 2023.
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 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.
- Trainee Selection Day – 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.
You do not need to meet all of the qualifications below before you apply, but you will be required to meet them once you reach Trainee Status.
- 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.
We're often asked about the time commitment required of our team members. Here is an outline of the 2023 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
2023 In-Person Field Training for Prospective Members
- Sat 3/18 - Prospect Field Training: Team/TC Intro, Fire, Shelter, Basic Search Techniques, Maps Intro
- Sun 3/19 - Full Team Field Training: Mock Mission
- Sat 4/15 - Full Team Field Training: Leadership Skills
- Sun 4/16 Prospect Field Training: Patient Packaging/Litters, Medical Intro, Plotting/Navigation Basics
- Sat 5/20 - Full Team Field Training: Litter Scenarios
- Sun 5/21 - Prospect Field Training: Qualification Day
2023 In-Person Field Training for Trainee Members
*Trainees who meet operational requirements are eligible to take part in missions*
- Sat 6/24 - Trainee Field Training: Medical, GPS, Navigation Basics
- Sun 6/25 - Full Team Field Training: Helicopter
- Sat 7/15 - Trainee Field Training: Navigation Course
- Sun 7/16 - Full Team Field Training: Medical
- Sat 8/19 - Full Team Field Training: OVERNIGHT Mock Mission
- Sat 9/16 - Trainee Field Training: Rope Skills, Knots, Water Safety
- Sun 9/17 - Full Team Field Training: Ropes, Stream Crossings
- Sat 10/21 - Full Team Field Training: Navigation Course
- Sun 10/22 - Trainee Field Training: Cert Day, Night Navigation
- Sat 11/18 - Full Team Field Training: SAR Olympics
Required Personal Equipment