Application & Selection Process

The fires, floods and media coverage of high profile searches over the last few years has generated a lot of interest in SAR in general and our Team specifically. Joining Cal-ESAR is a selective process, our training resources and venues have limits so unfortunately we can’t accept everyone that is interested in joining.

2022-23 Applicant Milestone Schedule

  • Intro and Info Event May 7, 2022 Orinda

  • Intro Navigation Class* May 14, 2022 Walnut Creek OR

  • Intro Navigation Class* May 21, 2022 San Francisco

  • Interviews June 4, 2022 Orinda

  • Background Checks June 6 - 15 Moraga (by appointment only)

  • DSW Oath & Orientation June 18, 2022 Orinda

  • Fitness Qual June 25 & 26, 2022 San Rafael

*Note: Attendance at only ONE Intro Nav class is required. Applicants have their choice of attending the Walnut Creek OR the SF Intro Nav class.

Application and Selection Process

    • Attendance at one of these is a required first step.

    • These 1 1/2 hour events including Q&A are held in May-June in the greater Bay Area.

    • Times and locations are published in March and can be found here.

Attend a 4 hour Introduction to Navigation class

    • This is our opportunity to get to know each other while having some fun learning a few basics of a critical SAR skill.

    • We are a 501(c) non profit organization so we ask for a nominal donation to cover material costs.

    • Attendees of the Intro Nav class will receive an online application after the Nav class.

Application and Interview

    • Applicants complete an on line application and schedule their interview.

    • The final step is a 20-30 minute interview before a panel of 3-5 current members.

    • Applicants are * strongly encouraged *to take a practice hike on the Fitness qualification hike course before submitting an application. If you can not pass the Fitness Qualification Hike before training you will not become a candidate.

Applicant Notification

    • Applicants will be notified within ~48 hours of acceptance as a candidate with background check & Orientation Day details.

    • Acceptance as a Candidate is contingent on passing the background check and passing the Fitness Qualification Hike.

Applicant Background Checks

  • An extensive background check is conducted with DOJ, FBI and DMV databases. Any felony conviction is an immediate disqualification, without appeal. Please do not begin the application process if you have a felony in your history. Background checks are scheduled with our vendor after an applicant receives an acceptance offer and before the DSW oath is administered.

DSW Oath

  • Applicants that pass the background check are given the oath as a California Disaster Service Worker

Fitness Qualification

  • Use this link for the page that describes the Fitness Qualification hike requirement and directions to our qualification course. We strongly encourage you to take a practice hike prior to the qualification hike so there are no surprises.

  • Applicants that successfully past the Fitness Qualification Hike become Candidates, attend Orientation Day and begin the training course starting in October.