Call 911 if You Are Lost or Injured.

What is a Mission?

A mission is any event for which Search & Rescue is called out. It could be a search, rescue or a recovery.

How are Search & Rescue Members Alerted of a Mission?

Once 911 has received a call, it gets transferred to the on-call Special Services Coordinator, or an assist Coordinator of the Deschutes County Search & Rescue. Once the mission is accepted by the Special Services Coordinator, an investigation is started. If SAR resources are needed, a page is sent requesting the SAR resources that are needed to accomplish the mission. Those who are available can respond for the mission.

How many people are in Search & Rescue?

There are over a 120 Volunteers supervised by a Lieutenant, who is the Special Services Coordinator, 4 Deputies, who are the Assistant SAR Coordinators and an Office Manager.

Does Search & Rescue do body recoveries?

Yes we do; however, volunteers are not asked to do anything they are uncomfortable doing.

Does Search & Rescue go anywhere in Oregon?

Our immediate response area is anywhere inside Deschutes County, however, other counties may call Deschutes County Search & Rescue for our assistance and if approved by the Sheriff’s Office Captain we will help.

What is your most common rescue?

Most rescues are lost or stranded people and medical emergencies.

If I join Search & Rescue, do I get to arrest people?

No. We are not police officers.


Do we have to wait until it is a life or death emergency to call Search & Rescue?

No. Call when you suspect there might be a problem. We can then get help to you faster.

Who do I call if I get lost or injured in the wilderness?

Call 911. They will contact the Sheriff’s Office Special Services.

How long do you wait until you go looking for someone?

Immediately. Once it has been determined that someone is missing, injured, or can’t get out by themselves, we page out for SAR resources immediately. There is no 24 hour waiting period.

Do you guys do searches and/or rescues at night?

Yes, we go as soon as we know there is an emergency.

How much does it cost for you to rescue someone?

Search & Rescue does not charge for its services. However, if other services are needed, such as AirLink or hospitalization, we have no control over what they charge.

Applying for Search & Rescue

What skills are necessary to be a volunteer?

SAR is a demanding and disciplined volunteer commitment. You must be comfortable in the outdoors, physically fit, flexible and be committed to participate in missions at any time or under most conditions.

I want to volunteer, but what if I’m busy and can’t make it to some things?

Search & Rescue is comprised of people in all stages of life. Some work full time, while others are students or are retired. We don’t expect you to make it to everything, but we do have a minimum requirement of 100 hours per year in which 30 hours of that is required training along with responding to a minimum of 6 missions a year.

How do I join?

  1. Check out if we’re accepting applications at the moment on our volunteer page
  2. Once accepted you must complete a 100 hour Search & Rescue Academy and pass a written test and demonstrate numerous proficiencies prior to being certified.
  3. You are then required to put in a minimum 100 hours a year including 30 hours of training, 6 missions and public events.

How much does it cost to join?

If accepted into the Academy, you pay $100 that pays for your required clothing items.

What type of certification process is there to be part of a specialty team?

After completing the Academy, participation in advanced skill teams is dependent on interest, ability and availability to train with that team. Most specialty teams have 3 or more levels of certifications, Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. Some levels require passing a written, physical, and/or practical test.

Do I need any special licenses?

You must have a valid Oregon Driver’s License. Other than that, it depends on what teams you decide to join.

If I don’t feel comfortable doing something on a mission, do I have to do it?

No. Everyone on the mission is responsible for the teams’ safety. If you do not feel comfortable or right about doing something, simply let the person in charge know.

How Can I help?

Thank you for your consideration! To make a donation to Search & Rescue, please visit our Donations Page.