Summit SAR Dogs always welcomes volunteers who would be willing to act as "lost subjects" during training. If you are interested, please contact us by email and we will send you a questionnaire.
Think you might want to join a Search and Rescue team? Read the article below and consider the facts. If you are still interested, contact several teams and visit them. Find out their policies and how they train. Make an educated decision before joining a team.
So, you want to be in Search and Rescue? Maybe not. Before you decide, read on and carefully consider.
There is no pay or benefit packages. That's why we're called "volunteers." You should also know that should you volunteer to belong, everything that follows in Search and Rescue is "mandatory." It has to be. The services we provide quite literally involve life and death, including your own.
Search and Rescue units are not social clubs. Searches are intense, have more hazardous situations and are more dangerous than ever before. Other organizations exist to fulfill your party needs.
Belonging will be time consuming. Training. More training. Always, training. Search and Rescue is a "gamble." The only means you have of placing the "odds" in your favor is education. Knowing subject behavior, how the weather affects scent, crime scene recognition, map and compass use, first aid and wilderness skills and ALL the other things that must be learned, may save your life and the lives of others.
It also takes time to respond to call-outs, do your duty and then pack up all of your equipment, debrief, and drive home. The work doesn't end when the search is over. Time is needed for gear maintenance, continuing education, record keeping, certifications, seminars, parades and school programs. There is never enough time. Being in Search and Rescue requires a lot of time.
Search and Rescue is physically demanding. Not all the time - just each time you step foot in your vehicle to go to training or answer a call-out. Your heart pounds, adrenaline flows and if you are sane, you are also scared. You'll wear a minimum of 20 pounds of gear. While wearing it, you may push, pull, climb, stretch, carry, lift, crouch, crawl and breathe harder than you thought possible. Sweat and grime will be your cologne. You will learn a new meaning of what it is to be truly cold, hot, wet, sore and tired. You may bleed, sweat and sometimes you will shed tears.
Search and Rescue can be ugly. It can be blinding bright or blinding dark. You may have too much help around; you may have none. It can be scorching hot or freezing cold. You may hear nothing but the silence of the woods or the deafening cries of a victim's family. You will see suffering and death, but you will also see life.
So, you still want to be in Search and Rescue? Then you might make it, you CAN make it; many others have. The "bad" in Search and Rescue is part of the "good." It is what makes us different. We do what others can't. If you become one of us, you'll share challenges, camaraderie and when we're successful, a sense of accomplishment that is second to none.
Your family becomes ours, and ours becomes yours. In our breed, you will experience an often strange sense of humor and you'll develop pride. Not boastful, bragging, cocky pride, rather an "inner" pride known only by those who have worn the gear. You will also develop a respect for your teammates across the nation and their job.
It is often said that Search and Rescue "gets into your blood." That's not true. If you become one of us, it gets into your heart.