Become a Search and Rescue Volunteer

Do you love to help people and to spend time outdoors? Are you looking for a rewarding hobby and volunteer opportunity? Becoming a SAR Volunteer might be the perfect fit for you!

Volunteers make up the backbone of California’s search and rescue capabilities. Thousands of citizens from around the state volunteer their time and effort “so that others may live”. SAR disciplines cover a wide range of activities, from mantracking, canine, and equestrian, to off-highway vehicles, winter environment and land navigation. SAR Volunteers come from all backgrounds, and all ages.

Becoming a SAR volunteer isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of commitment and many hours of training. In fact, if California didn’t have volunteers to help take the burden off of our Law Enforcement agencies, many missing persons would be left unfound and unrescued. There aren’t many other volunteer opportunities where you can get home and think “I helped saved someone’s life today”.

Search and Rescue in California is the responsibility of each County’s Sheriff’s Office, except within certain National Parks. Cal OES provides support to each Sheriffs’ Office through Mutual Aid and our State SAR Resource Teams. Volunteers registered as disaster service workers may be eligible for Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program (DSWVP) benefits if injured while participating in authorized disaster service duties as described in the Regulations.

If you are interested in obtaining further information about volunteering for search and rescue, please visit your local Sheriff’s Office or SAR Team webpage or the following links for State SAR Resource Teams:

California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA)

Monterey Bay Search Dogs

WOOF – Wilderness Finders Search Dog Teams

National Ski Patrol – Far West Division

Civil Air Patrol – California Wing

Cal-ESAR – Explorer Search and Rescue

If you have questions about volunteering for Search and Rescue, you may contact troy.clegg@caloes.ca.gov