Training & Membership

Gone are the days when members of the public are called to help search for a missing person. SAR members must be highly trained for any kind of search emergency because risks to searchers are high. People often go missing in inclement weather, dangerous or hard to access locations, or occasionally evade help. These risks decrease greatly with training and experience, and there is a lot to learn.

All ERSARA members are required to go through basic training, which includes Standard First Aid with level C CPR, and Basic SAR Skills. This 60 hour course covers a very wide range of important areas, like Lost Person Behavior, clue awareness, evidence and crime scene preservation, search techniques, survival, navigation, helicopter safety, cold weather training and more. In fact, there is so much more, those who are trying to earn their Provider status must train at least an additional 40 hours in practical and classroom sessions.

ERSARA members have the choice of three training paths, depending on how involved they wish to be: SAR Support, SAR Provider, and SAR Manager.

Members must be at least 18 years of age, have access to a vehicle 24/7 and have a clean criminal record - no exceptions. Due to the intense training for new members, ERSARA recruits only every couple of years, and our next class is scheduled for the fall of 2014. For more information, see our information package.

Due to the searches we participate in, we have to limit the number of our membersthat come from public safety professions (police, fire, EMS, military). These members have the same training and recruitment requirements, but are voted in by the Regular membership, can not hold an elected position and do not have voting privileges. It may take longer than normal to go through this process. We also ask current ERSARA members to have 2 years with us before applying to a public safety career.

Members of other SAR groups who wish to join ERSARA, or former members of ERSARA, do not have to wait for a recruitment year and may apply at any time with the appropriate documents (letter of reference from your former group, your SAR resume and copies of all current training certificates). After this initial information is received and accepted by our Board of Directors, an interview will take place, along with a security clearance. Additional training may be required before becoming active.

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All applications received after August 12, 2016 will be held until our next recruitment drive in 2018.

Please print and read our info package and application. Inquiries & applications must be e-mailed to:

All members MUST:
1. be over 18
2. have a clean criminal record
3. have access to a vehicle 24/7