The stories out there are riveting...how the rescue team got down to the hiker perched on the cliff, how the search time found the toddler who wandered away.
But how did that team get there in the first place?
With a lot of support and planning, that's how.
There is so much behind the dramatic images one sees in news reports or on SAR organization sites. Dispatchers have been contacted by agencies requesting help, and have then called out the SAR team. Base has been set up, team members are looking at the area and figuring out who should go where. Throughout the search, staff is handling radio communications, logging clues, dealing with forms. There is analysis to do as search teams come back in with reports, then more mapping and task assignment based on info gathered. Copiers are pushing out paperwork team leaders need. Equipment is being signed in and out, generators fed. There are local folks who want to help, and/or families to keep updated. These are just some of the things that go on behind the scenes, and the public rarely sees these essential parts of the effort.
If you are interested in search and rescue but don't want to be scrambling through multiflora, we've got jobs for you. Jobs just as important as the ones "in the field". You can even volunteer without leaving your house! Dispatchers usually work from home...and so do some of our other staff members.
There is a TON of ongoing work when we are not on a search too: developing and scheduling training, fundraising, educational events, book-keeping, tech support, vehicle maintenance, and a million other things to keep the team going.
Many volunteers are drawn to search and rescue because of the technical skills required, the physical challenges, or a love of the outdoors. Some volunteers don't dig the fieldwork. The biggest driving factor for all volunteers is a desire to help people in distress. And that is really all it takes. No previous knowledge is needed - we train you.
There is much you can do - regardless of your fitness level, age (as long as you are over 16), or comfort level in the woods.
P.S.: if you aren't up for a big commitment, we are always in need of people to hide for our dog teams. It is an invaluable help!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's chat.