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Training Program

Our training program consists of several short presentations given at bi-weekly meetings and four required weekend field courses that are given twice annually. A trainee must pass each field session before obtaining a full field qualified status. Once trained, members are expected to attend and help instruct new trainees. The topics covered in each of these sessions are shown below.

Short courses given during the bi-weekly meetings: SAR Equipment, equipment care, basic survival, shelter set-up, subject assessment, hypothermia, subject evacuation, navigation (five-30 minute sessions), basic helicopter, GPS usage, basic man tracking, introduction to incident command, and basic search management.

Field training sessions:

Course-G: This session gives trainees hands-on experience in the various skills all searchers need to master. These include: search tactics, communication, subject evacuation, clue awareness, and low-angle rope assist. Trainees participate in a mock search where they practice the skills the have been introduced to.

Course-1: Once trainees have gone through the classroom navigation sessions they are taught the field skills associated with navigation. They are also given practical problems that require a field application of the classroom navigation skills.

Course-2: Like Course-1, this is a navigation session, which features many of the same skills practiced during the previous course. During this session trainees will be placed in more remote locations and are expected to demonstrate they have mastered the skills needed for search and rescue.

Basic First Aid: All search and rescue personnel must have a valid first aid card. A certified first aid instructor from within the unit teaches this course. Common situational topics relative to search and rescue have been added to the course.

Course-3: This is a practice search where all of the skills learned during the training season will be practiced. Trainees need to be able to demonstrate they can respond correctly to a variety of realistic situations.

County Mock Search: During some years the county SAR Council will host a countywide mock search involving all of the groups in the council. Attending this mission will count as Course-3 if a trainee was unable to attend.

To remain field qualified, team members need to attend and/or assist giving training during some of the above sessions at least every other year.