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. Our training resources and venues have limits so we can’t accept everyone that is interested in joining.

Our application and selection process follows these steps


1. Attend an Introduction & Information Event

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

    • These 1 hour events are held midweek evenings and Saturdays in May-June in the greater Bay Area.

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


2. 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 both a Intro and Info Event and Intro Nav class will receive an online application after the Nav class.


3. 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.


4. Applicant Notification

    • Applicants will be notified within ~48 hours of acceptance as a candidate with orientation day details.

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


5. Applicant Background Checks

  • Extensive background check is conducted with DOJ, FBI and DMV databases. Any felony conviction is a immediate disqualification, without appeal.


6. DSW Oath &

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


7. Fitness Qualification

  • Use this link for the page that describes the Fitness Qualification hike requirement and directions to our qualification course. We 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 and begin training.