Training Overview


What is Cal-ESAR's training like?

The training program consists of seven weekend courses across seven months—approximately 160 hours. It is designed to train someone with no prior experience to become a competent field-ready ground searcher. The training program topics include general backcountry skills, navigation, search methods, shelter-building, knots, rappelling, and more.

When is the training?

The training takes place over the course of seven weekends, beginning in October and ending in April. The dates for 2020-2021 training class are below.

  1. New Candidate Orientation, September 19 @ Orinda Community Center
  2. Outdoor skills, October 10-11, Location TBD
  3. Intro to navigation, November 7-8 @ Romberg Tiburon Center
  4. First aid & CPR, December 5-6 @ Orinda Community Center
  5. Search and rescue skills, January 9-10 @ Mt. Diablo
  6. Technical skills, February 6-7 @ Marin Headlands
  7. (Optional) Winter skills, February TBD
  8. Advanced navigation, March 13-14, San Mateo County
  9. Skills evaluation, April 10-11, location to be announced
  10. Yosemite PSAR, May TBD @ Yosemite

Most training weekends begin are: 8:30am Saturday - ~3:00 pm Sunday. All weekends except the First Aid training weekend require primitive overnight camping.

In order to be certified to respond to SAR callouts you must complete all training weekends. Before applying please reserve these dates on you calendar and be sure you don't have any conflicts.

Guest and Pet Policy

Training weekends are for members of Cal-ESAR. Pets or non-registered guests (e.g. siblings, significant others, friends) will detract from the training and cannot attend. Sorry, this is a matter of liability and unit policy.