Applying to Larimer County Search and Rescue
Please Note: We do not have any paid positions or paid members on the team.
NEXT NEW MEMBER TRAINING - SPRING .
LAST DATE TO EXPRESS AN INTEREST - NOVEMBER 1, .
We accept the names of people who are interested in joining Larimer County Search and Rescue throughout the year.
If you are interested in applying for membership to LCSAR, contact the Applicant Coordinator via the form link Joining Interest Form.
Any interest forms received after the date expressed above will be considered for the new member training course.
When the Applicant Coordinator receives the submitted information, you will be contacted in order to answer any questions that you may have about the team and our application process.
Some answers to questions that you may have can also be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Every five years LCSAR has their re-accreditation evaluation by the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA). During those years we do not have new member training. However, we still collect information from those who are interested in joining LCSAR even though we are not going to have a new member training for that year. We are re-accrediting in 2014 so there is no new member training for 2014. Our next re-accreditation is in 2019.
Our process for accepting new members is as follow:
The minimum age for applying to the team is 18 years old.
We only accept new members once a year. We interview applicants toward the end of the year and our training program starts in the Spring the following year.
The first step in the process is to express your interest in applying for membership to LCSAR by submitting the interest form as requested above.
When our application process starts toward the end of the year, you will be invited to attend a mandatory Orientation meeting which will be held in the Fall. There is more than one Orientation meeting during the Fall time frame.
Application forms are only provided at the Orientation meeting.
LCSAR reviews the information provided by each applicant and conducts interviews to evaluate applicants on a number of criteria. Interviews are held when we receive your application. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office will conduct a background check and a driving record check on all of our applicants. After the interviews and the background checks, approved candidates begin our Basic Search and Rescue Training (BASART) program.
The class size is limited, so we are not in a position to accept all applicants into the program.
The costs associated with our training program will be presented at the Orientation meeting. There is a non-refundable application fee and a non-refundable BASART fee.
First of all, thank you for your interest in Larimer County Search and Rescue. Search and rescue work is a noble avocation.
Being a member of LCSAR may not be as glorified as you think. Please read on and see if this sounds interesting to you.
Mountain search and rescue is challenging yet fulfilling, rewarding but demanding, frequently a lot of work, and occasionally a lot of fun.
We are search and rescue professionals. We are trained and tested against rigorous search and rescue standards that have been established by the Search and Rescue community. We receive no wages for our efforts. If you're up to the task, and really didn't want to be wealthy anyway, read on...
The average Team member spends over 400 hours a year in training classes, field practices, Public Education programs, fund-raising events, and, about 5 times a month, there will be a search or rescue mission. Each member purchases between $ 2,500.00 and $ 3,000.00 worth of personal equipment depending on their field rating and what they might already own.
Our typical mission starts at night, lasts all night, and finishes early the next morning. We experience the joy of returning a lost loved one, the shock of traumatic injury, the tragedy of suicide, or our worst possible mission, the death of the person we were trying to help.
Your availability to leave what you are doing for a mission at any time, day or night, weekend or weekday, is critical to your success and contribution to the team.
Prior SAR Experience
If you have prior search and rescue experience, you are required to go through our Basic Search and Rescue Training program (BASART).
The purpose of BASART is:
- train new members
- demonstrate proficiency in SAR skills that you may already have
- learn team practices, operating procedures, and standards
- evaluate new members
- meld and incorporate new members into the team
- develop a rapport with current team members
- develop an understanding of our training procedures
- focus on the new members and their performance
- refresher for current team members
Basic Search and Rescue Training (BASART) Program
Our Basic Search and Rescue Training (BASART) program is held in the Spring typically from March to the first part of June. There are approximately 28 classroom and field sessions. Meetings are on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays and/or Sundays. All BASART training sessions are mandatory.
BASART is composed of individual class and field sessions where applicants are exposed to basic Search and Rescue techniques in the classroom and then these techniques are applied in field training sessions. Classes include knot tying, basic rope and rescue rigging, search tactics and techniques, search and rescue dogs, map and compass, and individual and team equipment just to name a few.
BASART participants will be provided a list of required and recommended gear necessary for field work. We will teach you all you need to know about Search and Rescue.
Failure to attend all BASART training sessions is sufficient grounds to not accept a candidate for membership.
What do I do while I am waiting for the Application process to start? You ask.
Get physically fit. Search and Rescue work is physically demanding. You should be able to hike four miles over varied terrain with a minimum of 1,000 feet of elevation gain carrying a 25 to 40 pound pack and complete this in 3 hours. A physical fitness test will be administered during the BASART training period.
To test yourself, you can take the hikes listed in this document Physical Fitness Hikes.
You can also try the wildland firefighter test by hiking 3 miles on level terrain with a 45 pound pack in 45 minutes. No jogging or running is permitted.
Get some medical training. We recommend you take a medical course that has a wilderness emphasis, such as Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, or Wilderness EMT. In lieu of that take a First Responder or EMT course. Even if you are not accepted on the team, the skills you learn and the knowledge you gain will be invaluable.
Check out the Medical Training Resources page for medical training organizations.
Other Things to Do
- Familiarize yourself with Larimer County. Hike the popular trails. Find the local climbing, fishing and camping spots.
- Familiarize yourself with the local topographical maps.
- Save money for gear. In BASART you will learn what specific gear you'll be required to carry on missions.
- Break in good quality full leather hiking boots.
- Plan your schedule so you can attend all the BASART trainings. We understand the commitment. We have all done it. We want you to learn SAR techniques at all the trainings. They are all important. Otherwise we would not teach it to you.
BASART Training Schedule
Below is a generic BASART training schedule to give you an idea of the time commitment for becoming a new member. This is just the beginning of your training. We train all year round in various search and rescue disciplines.
BASART Generic Schedule
|2||Weekend||8:00 AM||Personal/Team Equipment and Communications|
|3||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Navigation I|
|4||Weekend||8:00 AM||Navigation I Field|
|5||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Navigation II|
|6||Weekend||8:00 AM||Navigation II Field (Day/Night)|
|7||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Navigation III and Larimer County Geography|
|8||Weekend||8:00 AM||Helicopter Operations|
|9||Wednesday||7:00 PM||SAR Dogs|
|10||Weekend||8:00 AM||SAR Dogs Field|
|11||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Medical Protocols, Safety and Risk Management|
|12||Weekend||8:00 AM||Tracking and Clue Awareness|
|13||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Search Theory|
|14||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Pack Check|
|15||Weekend||8:00 AM||Practice Search|
|16||Wednesday||7:00 PM||National Incident Management System (NIMS)|
|17||Weekend||8:00 AM||Basic Rope I and Knot Test|
|18||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Basic Rope II|
|19||Weekend||8:00 AM||Basic Rope II Field|
|20||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Rescue I|
|21||Weekend||8:00 AM||Rescue I Field|
|22||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Rescue II|
|23||Weekend||8:00 AM||Rescue II Field|
|24||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Critical Incident Stress Management|
|25||Weekend||8:00 AM||Practice Rescue|
|28||Weekend||8:00 AM||BASART Final (Overnight)|
|29||Wednesday||7:00 PM||Mission Call out and Pager Procedures|
|30||Weekend||12:00 PM||BASART Graduation|
|Wednesday sessions are in the evenings starting at 7:00 PM.|
|Weekend sessions alternate on Saturday and Sunday starting at 8:00 AM. The whole day is devoted to training.|
|Some weekend field sessions may be on a Saturday and Sunday which may also include an overnight stay.|
|Knots tying is taught at most of the sessions in preparation for the knot test.|
On-going Training and Other Team Activities
When BASART is completed, it is not the end of SAR training. We train throughout the year in various SAR disciplines.
Team members are also encouraged to get involved in the other activities that we do such as teaching public education classes, fund-raising, administrative duties, and of course search and rescue missions.
General Team Schedule
|1st Wednesday||7:00 PM||Classroom Training|
|1st Weekend||8:00 AM||Field Training|
|2nd Wednesday||6:30 PM||Executive Board Meeting|
|3rd Wednesday||7:00 PM||Classroom Training|
|3rd Weekend||8:00 AM||Field Training|
|4th Monday||6:30 PM||Training Committee Meeting|
|4th Wednesday||6:30 PM||SAR Manager Meeting|
|5th Wednesday||7:00 PM||Medical Training|
|Mid-weeks - Monday through Friday||8:00 AM||SAR Dog Practice|
|Every Weekend||8:00 AM||SAR Dog Practice|
|One Weekend a Month||8:00 AM||Man Tracking Training|
|Tuesday or Thursday evening (as needed)||6:30 PM||SAR Skill Building|
|Weekend sessions alternate on Saturday and Sunday. The whole day is devoted to training.|
|Some weekend field sessions may be on a Saturday and Sunday which typically includes an overnight stay.|