The Search and Rescue Training Written Examination, Physical Skills and Mental Competency Certification Test

Search and Rescue (SAR) teams exist as a matter of law declared by the Oregon Constitution. Oregon law defines Search and Rescue as “Acts of searching for, rescuing or recovering, by means of ground or marine activity, any person who is lost, injured or killed while out-of-doors.” In the specifics of the law, county Sheriff’s offices are saddled with the responsibility of providing the protective public service of SAR teams to the communities within their county. While Oregon law defines what search & rescue is and who is responsible for providing the service, it does not allocate any funds for the activity; therefore, most Oregon search and rescue teams are non profit organizations funded by the donations coming from it’s own members and the generous donations from Oregon’s businesses and concerned residents.

Although Search & Rescue funding is provided for by a narrow portion of Oregon state citizens, Search and Rescue membership is open to all who desire to serve. Anyone can join as a volunteer. Though anyone can join, acceptance into membership is restricted to approved applicants. Approval restrictions focus upon an individual’s ability to physically perform and execute certain techniques, their mental capability to perform all duly assigned tasks and the competency to pass specific knowledge and skills courses. SAR unit membership is open to both male and female. No applicant who meets unit criteria is denied membership on the basis of race, creed, color, religion or sex.

Qualifying members undergo countless hours of rescue training. Crux Rescue takes pride in and relishes the joy in being able to provide rescue training to this select group of selfless, public servants. The training required to attain certification and retain SAR team membership has, as most training does, a price tag that someone must pay. Without government funding, team members must pay for most, if not all, of the costs for training out of their own pockets.

Search and Rescue training is a thorough, regimented path to qualification. State law has established search and rescue minimum standardized core competencies that are necessary to be mastered in order to become a certified member of SAR. To obtain and maintain the Oregon State Search and Rescue basic certification, each person must accomplish the following.

  • Possess a current First Aid/CPR/BBP certification.
  • Possess a valid State Driver’s License (if eligible to operate a motor vehicle in Oregon State) or a valid state issued identification card. If eligible to operate a motor vehicle, they must also obtain motor vehicle insurance that satisfies the Oregon State insurance requirements. If operating a personally owned motor vehicle (POV) said vehicle must meet any and all Oregon State motor vehicle requirements.
  • Successfully complete all performance objective skill tests and achieve a minimum score of 80% on written exams for tested areas of the core competency.
  • Successfully complete;
    • FEMA IS-100
    • FEMA IS-700
    • Any other federal, state, or local training requirement that is defined as needed by the sponsoring jurisdiction.
  • Possess a SAR card authorized by the Sheriff of the County responsible for local search and rescue missions where the personnel’s SAR team is based and registered.
  • Attend annually, thirty or more hours of continuing education in subjects related to search and rescue, approved by the Sheriff of each County.
  • Sheriff’s offices are encouraged to recertify search and rescue personnel every other year by means of retesting using the core competency examinations.

In addition to the minimum core competencies some Sheriffs may require SAR personnel to under take additional, specialized training in lieu of meeting certification core competencies for a rescue specialty.

Search & Rescue specialty areas can include mountain rescue, K-9 rescue, water rescue, swift water rescue, whitewater rescue, rope rescue, technical rescue, tracking, ELT/PLB location, all-terrain vehicles (ATV), snowmobiles, communications, mounted or horse units, and 2 and 4 wheel drive vehicle operation.

Image represents Crux Rescue's 5 Steps To Improve Your Rescue Skills including mastering your technique and knowledge in SAR, Search & Rescue.