Is Search and Rescue for you?
Thank you for your interest in the Inyo County Search and Rescue team. The following is a brief overview of the team and what to expect. If you have other questions or just want to learn more, ask a member or stop by one of our monthly meetings for a tour. We hold meetings at the Posse hut (tan metal building just before the Bishop airport), general meetings the 1st. Thursday of every month at 7pm, a classroom training every 3rd Thursday of the month at 7 pm, and a full day hands on training the following Saturday.
Inyo County Search and Rescue is a non-profit corporation created in 1952. The Inyo SAR team works in cooperation and under the authority of Inyo County Sheriffs department. The team roster is usually around 50 volunteers who work without reimbursement of any kind. Averaging over 45 missions per year.
Missions vary greatly from high angle technical rock, to lost hikers, occurring anywhere in Inyo County from Whitney to Badwater and even on the occasion mutual aid mission out of our area. We respond in all weather conditions 24/7. Environmental challenges include high altitude, high and low temperatures, ice, snow, nighttime and low visibility, and occasionally overnight bivouacs to name a few. Sometimes we fly in helicopters, use boats, snow cats and 4 wheel drive vehicles when appropriate, mostly we just hike from the trail head to the scene.
A typical backpacker will have most of the equipment required for basic operations, those wanting to work in winter conditions, or on technical operations may need to augment their gear. You must buy and maintain your own equipment although the team does have some gear that may be borrowed for specialized missions. If you are interested we can explain in more detail the gear you may want to consider for a typical rescue mission.
Medical professionals are high regarded as team members as many of the missions require some type of first aid or trauma care. Basic first aid and CPR training is standard we encourage wilderness first responder and EMT training for those whom are able to. Other valuable skills that we also train for is topo map, compass, GPS, computer mapping, and ELT use. Tracking, search methods, rock climbing, winter survival, travel and more. We train for missions in all possible locations and conditions. Some members join may not want to do long physically challenging missions and prefer to participate on only specific types of missions or to help with support type work as trail blockers, drivers, radio relay, base operations, fundraising, website maintenance and photo archival.
To become a team member you will fill out a team application, provide finger prints and a photo ID, You will need to pass a Sheriffs Office background check. And then you will be on a 6 month probationary period during which you will be able to participate in search and rescue operations. Also during probation you are required to attend all general meetings and a majority of team scheduled trainings, or request to be excused. At the end of 6 months when we have got to know each other the team will vote on accepting you as member.
Call-outs happen in all kinds of weather, no matter what you’re doing. Maybe you’re having dinner with your spouse at a nice restaurant or reading the kids a bedtime story. Maybe you’re enjoying a great movie or just getting ready to go for a jog. You just never know when someone, somewhere, might be in trouble. As a volunteer, sometimes you just won’t be able to respond. And that’s okay. You respond when you can. But, as a member of our team, you should respond when you’re able.
Depending on your present skills and level of involvement you can progress into one or more of the specialty fields and then up thru the various member levels eventually up to a field team leader, to achieve this may take several years of dedication and training.
Once again thank you for your interest in Inyo SAR, we welcome anyone whom has the desire to help others and we can use your help with involvement as little as annual fundraiser up to a team leader and everywhere in between. Visit one of our general meetings and learn more about us.