Search and Rescue seeks volunteers


Last updated 11/23/2021 at Noon

You read the stories on a regular basis in The Nugget — a hiker gets in trouble in the Sisters backcountry, and Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel respond to provide aid.

Now the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is seeking more of those volunteer SAR personnel, accepting applications from members of the community.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (DCSO SAR) continues to be one of the busiest search and rescue units in the state of Oregon, Lt. Mike Biondi, search and rescue coordinator, reported.

In 2020, DCSO SAR completed 230 missions, which included rescues, medical related missions, training missions, public events, and assists to other counties.

“Our volunteers are highly skilled and range from general searchers to those capable of highly technical missions such as mountain/rope rescue, swift water rescue, diving operations, and more,” Lt. Biondi said in a prepared release.

Selected applicants, who must be at least 21 years of age, are required to complete the DCSO SAR academy, which consists of 120 hours of training. The 2022 academy will begin on March 28, with volunteers graduating on May 12. Generally, training — which consists of classroom exercises — occurs on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Some additional hands-on practical exercises will also occur on Saturday or Sunday. Included in the academy, is a “pack test,” which consists of a five-mile hike (2.5 miles uphill and 2.5 miles downhill) carrying a 25-pound backpack. The time limit for this test is 100 minutes.

Academy attendees will receive instruction in several areas including, but not limited to: navigation, tracking, wilderness survival, search tactics, first aid/CPR, and how DCSO SAR operates. Each academy attendee will be assigned a mentor to assist with the successful completion of the academy.

Applications can be found online at http://www.sheriff. The deadline to submit applications is January 7, 2022 at 5 p.m. Applications can be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to 63333 Hwy 20 West, Bend, Oregon 97703.

Once applications are reviewed, applicants that meet minimum qualifications will be contacted and will attend an informational session. Applicants will be also required to attend an oral board interview. A background investigation will be completed for all applicants who are selected after the oral board interview. SAR applicants must have the ability to fit in with our current volunteers, display a good attitude and the ability to function as a team player. There is a $100 entry fee for those selected, which covers initial Search and Rescue Volunteer clothing issued upon graduation from the academy.

For more information call Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Special Services at 541-388-6501.


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