Competitive candidates will possess a combination of general backcountry knowledge and technical skills. While we incorporate basic skills such as navigating with a map and compass, wilderness survival, and tying climbing knots into our practices, we do not actively teach these skills. We assume that you possess these basic skills prior to applying for membership. Our training program is focused on technical skills related to rope rescue systems, backcountry medicine, and search and rescue operations.
We conduct training and missions in steep, rugged, snowy, and remote terrain regardless of the weather. You need to possess skills to take care of yourself in these environments as team member safety is our top priority.
Qualified candidates must have ALL of the following skills:
- General backcountry knowledge: Able to navigate using map and compass, own proper clothing and equipment for travel, training, and survival in inclement weather in all seasons.
- Good fitness levels: Capable of carrying heavy loads in backcountry situations, and adequate fitness level to participate in strenuous activity, sometimes for long periods of time. Team members are expected to perform at the "arduous" level consistent with the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Firefighter Pack Test. This is a timed test of a 3-mile hike on level terrain under 45 minutes. Packs must be carried during the test and will weigh 45 pounds or one-third of your body weight, whichever is less.
- First Aid and CPR: You must have a current First Aid and CPR certification OR commit to attaining it within three months of your acceptance date. There are opportunities for classes if you are accepted as a candidate.
- Climbing Knots:Capable of tying basic climbing knots- the Water Knot, Double Fisherman’s, Prusik Knot, Figure 8 Follow Through, Alpine Butterfly, Münter Hitch, and Clove Hitch.
Qualified candidates are also required to have basic skills in at least one technical area below:
- Rock climbing: Capable of climbing at least low 5th class rock.
- Snow/glacier: Able to self-arrest, use crampons and ice axe properly, and be familiar with roped glacier travel.
- Ice climbing: Capable of climbing WI2 or AI2. Familiar with use of ice protection methods, ice tools and crampons.
- Rope rescue technician training: Certified Technical Rope Rescue Operations Level 1 (NFPA 1670)
Other information about joining:
- EMR is one of several volunteer teams that serve the Lane County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue program. LCSO holds a few recruitment meetings each fall, typically in October, and prospective volunteers must attend one of them. When you sign in at the meeting, you'll be e-mailed a SAR volunteer application. If you're selected and pass a background investigation, you'll be sent an EMR application.
- All new team members are required to attend "SAR 101," a course offered by the Lane County Sheriff's Office. It covers basic search and rescue techniques, use of radios, wilderness survival, land navigation, and other essential skills. SAR 101 is required to become a certified Search and Rescue volunteer in the state of Oregon. The training is about 120 hours, and runs from February through mid-April. There are two evening classroom sessions a week, field training on Saturdays, and a final overnight exercise. The cost is $75, which covers expenses involved and includes a manual and First Aid and CPR certification.
- Once you have completed SAR 101, all team members must complete 30 hours of training a year, pass an annual fitness test, and maintain First Aid/CPR certification to remain eligible for Search and Rescue missions. This ensures that all team members can safely and effectively assist during a mission.
We appreciate your interest in joining our team!