San Juan Pick Off

Why Join?

Most new members tell us the key reasons they join the CBSAR: camaraderie, personal knowledge, skills development, leadership opportunities, and service to our community. Active membership also qualifies members to participate in discounts offered by some manufacturers of backcountry equipment.

Membership Requirements

  • Active Member: Attends at least 1/3 of trainings scheduled during a 12-month period. Active member status is calculated twice each year; just before regular elections in June and December. Active members are eligible for participation in pro-purchase programs, reimbursement of training expenses, and can be issued team equipment. Active membership is required for Team Leader positions and to be eligible for election to the Board.
  • Registered Member: Has completed intake forms and disclaimers. Demonstrates on-going interest and participation. A registered member may participate in missions and trainings.

Application Process

  • Here are the first steps, in a nutshell: Come to our regular trainings, meld in. You might want to arrive a little early. Introduce yourself to everyone and tell them you’re interested in joining or learning more about our team. Fill out an application. Stick around and see what we are all about. Keep coming to the trainings.

We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Here is what you need to know

Teamwork: Our members work as a team at emergency scenes. Our work also includes training, facility and equipment maintenance, and public education. You must be in excellent physical condition to meet the demands of the job. This means you must work quickly, handling heavy equipment for long periods of time – usually in backcountry environments. If you can meet the challenge of strenuous work and like the idea of helping people, consider applying.

Requirements: All that is required: age 18 or over, a sincere interest in CBSAR, a reasonable dedication to training and missions, and good moral character. We welcome folks who are not or don’t want to be SAR experts, but who are willing to donate their efforts in administrative and support areas.

Application: Any prospective member can pick-up and submit an application for membership at the cache.

SAR Training: Every member may participate in our regular and special training sessions. There is no cost for training. Classroom trainings are on Wednesday nights from 6 to 8, be prepared to go out in the field on these evenings. Bring your field pack and appropriate attire for current weather conditions. We will be teaching wilderness survival, land navigation, technical rope skills, search techniques, simulations, among other topics. If you have questions, contact the President listed under the Contacts button.

Equipment: There are no uniform requirements. Each member must provide their own personal gear. Team rescue gear is provided by CBSAR.

Costs: There are no costs for membership, training or activities. Personal field gear is at the member’s expense.

Qualification for Missions: This is decided on a case-by-case basis, and typically new folks who are physically fit and have some backcountry experience are allowed to go on missions as needed.

Availability of Your Time: You are in no way obligated to respond to any mission. School, work and family often come before SAR missions. This is a volunteer service, and we recognize that sometimes other priorities come first. However, our team appreciates your dedication to training and helping in those in need when you do have time. The volunteer nature of our operation dictates that members must occasionally decline a search when work, studies, etc. take priority. If you are unable to leave town, you may still contribute to a mission if there is a need for support back in town or at the cache, including coverage or short errands within town (coordination for couriers, food, supplies, etc.). Please make your availability for such tasks known.

Preparedness: When emergencies arise, any delay can make the situation worse for the victims and rescuers. All CBSAR members are asked to have their field pack and other essentials ready to go. If possible, keep your field gear assembled and available in a dedicated backpack (a daypack will usually suffice) or at least together in a designated spot as needed when the page comes in and you are in a hurry to depart to the cache. Members may be selected to participate in searches or assigned tasks based on who is better equipped for a given set of conditions.

Task Assignments: In you initial experiences with the team, you will likely be observing and serving in the labor pool unless you have significant medical or operations experience. As your exposure to our team practices and members increases, you can look forward to being assigned more responsibility. Team Leader, Incident Command, Command Staff, and Board level opportunities are open to all members.

Professionalism: Our likelihood of success in any search is directly related to the amount of cooperation we secure and the degree of confidence the responsible agencies have in us. Courtesy, competence and a professional demeanor are of such critical importance during a search that there is no room for error in this. During any mission you are a representative of CBSAR and your appearance, performance and manner must reflect that fact. Because of the importance of this.

Safety: For the safety of yourself and team members, never attempt an assignment for which you are unprepared. If you feel uncomfortable with a task for any reason, such as equipment, level of training, fatigue, etc., you must inform your team leader. You have the right to refuse any task.

Travel to the Search Area: We operate in a region with some 3,200 square miles… no wonder you might ask about transportation. We travel in caravans to the search area and keep careful tabs on you. Members may use their own cars, but many will leave them to pool with the team vehicles or other personal vehicles. In some cases you may be reimbursed for gas mileage in personal vehicles, especially if the distance is significant and particularly if we are mutual aided to another region. There is no problem if you do not have your own transportation as a ride can always be arranged for you.

Medical Training: While not required, it would be most helpful if you have completed a basic First Aid and CPR course from the Red Cross or other organizations. Even better would be for you to become certified in wilderness medicine first aid and CPR. Although CBSAR does not teach an EMT curriculum, many of our members go to a local EMS training program for this, and take a Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT supplement.

Training Schedule: Trainings are held the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month at the CBSAR cache.

Joining the CBSAR is an excellent way to participate in community service that really matters.