So Others May Live

Upon academy graduation, every SAR volunteer is an OSSA (Oregon State Sheriff’s Association) certified ground team member. SAR specialty teams consist of highly trained volunteers for specializations such as swift water rescue, mountain rescue, winter search, medical evacuation, water operations and canine search.

Medical Team

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue (DCSOSAR) is a Registered Oregon EMS service with medical direction from Dr. Harwood, Board Certified Emergency Physician with a Diploma in Mountain Medicine.

The SAR Medical Team is the 911 EMS providing a high level of care in the remote and austere environments of Deschutes County. Whether hanging from a cliff or injured on the side of a snow slope, we have specialized training and equipment to care for those in need.

We have developed one of the most progressive Advanced Life Support (ALS) Wilderness Medicine programs in the country. With implementation of new equipment such as diagnostic Point of Care Ultrasound, remote ECG monitoring, along with interventions such as warmed IV fluids, and hypothermia systems, DCSOSAR medical team provides high quality care; not only focusing on immediate lifesaving interventions but enhancing long term outcomes.

Who we are: We are a group of all dedicated volunteers, many of whom work professionally in medicine including flight and critical care nurses, emergency physicians, paramedics, and EMTs. Our group is rounded out by awesome volunteers who receive training through a rigorous in-house Advance First Aid course. Of course, we like coffee.

Ground Team

Upon graduation, each SAR member is on the Ground team. “Ground Pounders” are utilized for almost every mission and this team serves as the foundation for all other specialty teams.

The Ground Team is trained and equipped to respond at a moment’s notice to make Central Oregon a safer place to live.


To ensure all SAR members are mission-ready 24/7. This includes proper training and equipment so members can answer the call when the need arises.

Mountain Rescue Team

In Oregon’s vast Deschutes County wilderness, there are countless remote and dangerous places to get lost or injured. The Mountain Rescue Unit (MRU) not only covers mountainous snow, rock, and glacier terrain, but also performs technical rescues on rock climbing routes and within caves.


MRU will access, assess, and extricate patients from any terrestrial location within Deschutes County 24/7 year-round. Rescues occur on cliff faces of any angle, cave environments, wilderness and alpine areas, Smith Rock climbing area, and any area requiring technical travel or footing.

ATV Team

The Deschutes County Search & Rescue All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) team is ready to deploy 24/7. The ATV team can provide search area containment, haul gear, transport SAR members, assist with fire evacuations, and extract lost or injured subjects.

In addition to the fleet of well-maintained ATVs, the team’s specialized equipment includes an ambusled to extract seriously injured subjects while in the care of the SAR Medical Team.

A special thanks to the donors who help our Search and Rescue ATV Team stay equipped and ready to save lives.


The ATV team will safely respond to Search and Rescue missions with adequate personnel trained and qualified to ride, as well as acquire and maintain appropriate equipment to support the mission. The team maintains competency in road and trail searches, fire evacuation, gear transport, and patient evacuation.

Dive Team

One of the most difficult responsibilities is held by Deschutes County’s Search & Rescue Dive Team. The amount of training hours involved to be able to achieve the technical skills that are required for this team are too many to count. The challenges and dangers of operating underwater are many, but leave it to this team to take care of business.

This team is charged with body recovery in area rivers and lakes. They play a critical role in searching for missing persons, and support local law enforcement with the search for criminal evidence that might have been thrown into the water.

A special thank you to the sponsors that aid in keeping this team’s equipment (which is their life) and their intense training in tip top condition.


The SAR Dive Team mission is to provide assistance in locating, recovering and preserving evidence, and locating and recovering drowning victims through the deployment of properly trained and equipped divers in the safest manner possible while striving to raise public conscience concerning safety around water and ice.

Swiftwater Team

Here in Deschutes County, we are blessed with an abundance of water-related recreational activities. This includes both still water and dynamic water situations. While most people believe that recreating in our lakes and rivers is a safe activity, each year the Swiftwater Team is called out to assist swimmers and/or boaters who find themselves in varying degrees of trouble. The team also performs search and/or recovery operations for persons who have become lost in the water.

The team is made up of volunteers with varying degrees of expertise. Team members receive hands-on training in land-based rescue options, ropes and mechanical advantage systems, rescue swimmer technicians, and rescue boat operations. The team is outfitted with personnel and equipment to safely conduct small-scale technical water rescue and search operations.


To respond to water rescue and search/recovery emergencies within the County of Deschutes, Oregon. The Swiftwater Team will supplement neighboring jurisdictions with assistance in water-related emergency incidents at their request. The goal of the team is to provide the citizens of our communities with the assurance of quality service through the use of updated equipment and to provide quality training, qualifications, and certifications for our members.

Snowmobile Team

One of the most important and heavily utilized teams during our winter missions, our Search & Rescue Snowmobile Team are truly local heroes. Ready to go at a moment’s notice, this specialized team can travel in all conditions and locations throughout our beautiful Deschutes County. Not only can this team find lost subjects and provide medical care, but they also set up a landing zones to extract an injured persons and are able to operate utility machines which can transfer people, gear, subjects, passengers.

The Snowmobile Team is a group of dedicated snowmobilers who are committed to train for any snow and terrain condition. From rescuing an injured subject off a trail or sending teams deep into the backcountry for search scenarios, this team is responsible for saving lives.

Your donations help this team keep their machines and equipment and most importantly, their training, up to the standards that it takes to execute a rescue operation in extreme conditions.


The purpose of the Deschutes County Search & Rescue Snowmobile Team is to safely access the backcountry and snowmobile trail systems for efficient contact to injured or lost subjects as well as provide winter snow mission transportation of gear, volunteers, and subjects, or for other transport needs.

Ski Team

Central Oregon features some tantalizing back country ski hills, back country snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. This team gives the community piece of mind that if something goes wrong, they are out in force to find you. Featuring a specialty cross country, back country, and alpine unit, these Search & Rescue Team members are trained to find lost or injured snowboarders, skiers, and snow shoers. They are familiar with the area terrain and know the places things are likely to go wrong!

The equipment requirements and training for this team is no small cup of hot chocolate. A special thank you is in order to our sponsors for helping with the training and equipment demands that keep their skills sharp, and their ski’s waxed!


The Ski Team is trained and ready for any mission the Incident Management Team deems the ski team to be an effective resource. Any terrain, any conditions, any time of day.

Air Operations

South Sister hiker rescued

The Air Operations Team plays a crucial role in connecting air assets with ground teams. They manage aerial search efforts to find missing or injured individuals, utilizing helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and drones. The team also arranges transportation for Search and Rescue (SAR) members to remote areas, establishes backcountry landing zones, and assists in ensuring a prompt extraction of the subject.

We extend our special appreciation to AirLink Critical Care Transport, a valuable resource that collaborates closely with our Air Operations experts. The Air National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol are also important partners in our Air Operations efforts. We also want to express our gratitude to our sponsors for their support in training and equipment.


Dedicated to serving Deschutes County and beyond, offers highly-trained volunteers ready to assist, at the request of the Sheriff’s Office, in any Search and Rescue mission where aerial assets are required.

Tracking Team

The Tracking Team supports search efforts for lost and injured subjects. Team members maintain advanced skills to evaluate the location where the subject was last seen, the ability to identify tracks, clues that help rescuers expeditiously locate lost subjects, and evaluate potential crime scenes.

This team provides critical information in advice that helps incident command plan a search. Additionally, the Tracking Team may assist other counties and governmental entities in looking for missing individuals.


Provide the critical skills and coordination to locate lost or missing person(s) in urban and rural areas, as well as provide human track evaluation and analysis for a crime scene and/or evidence search.

K9 Team

The K9 Team is composed of handlers and their dogs, in addition to flankers who act as field support. Our K9s are trained to find or recover lost or missing people in the disciplines of trailing, live find, plus land and water human remains detection.

Training K9s take a tremendous commitment and numerous hours monthly to attain certification and maintain the skills required to remain a deployable resource. We train as a team and seek outside training opportunities with other trainers, often out of state, to continue developing our skills as handlers and the proficiency of our K9s.


To train and maintain skills meeting SAR K9 certification standards to serve the Central Oregon community with the highest level of proficiency. The team will provide year-round assistance in finding or recovering missing persons to reunite and bring closure to loved ones.

Horse Team

The Horse Team is comprised of qualified equestrian SAR members and their horses. This team utilizes the advantages of horses to serve and enhance our mission responses. Horses allow us to travel farther and faster than humans on foot. Horses can also pack gear, carry injured people, and if necessary deceased subjects. Additionally, horses provide a different visual perspective.

Incident Management

The members of the Incident Management Team (IMT) provide the overhead and guidance for the teams assigned to find the lost or injured. IMT has individuals assigned to each required function of Plans, Operations, Logistics, Safety, and Communications. Additionally, the team has individuals who specialize in mapping and information technology.


The IMT will train and maintain a team that responds and fills all the required mission overhead tasks including planning, operations, logistics, mapping, safety, communications, situation status, resource status, and information technology.

Logistics Team

The job of the Logistics Team is to manage resources and provide support for the entire SAR team. Logistics is essential to every mission. Resources include the team members responding to the mission, as well as all monitoring of the vehicles and equipment that are used. We also coordinate food, communications, and medical for team members if needed. The faster and more efficient we are, the quicker we can get SAR team members out the door to save lives.


The Logistics Team‘s mission is to continue to train SAR members in the skills needed to support any mission and recommend people for Logistics Chief who are fully trained and have exhibited leadership and knowledge through both training and missions.


The MIST Team is responsible for maintenance and general oversight of the SAR fleet, equipment, radio/equipment room, and supplies at 10-04.

Additionally, this team manages ongoing organization of all equipment staged at 10-05.


The mission of the MIST Team is to maintain, inspect, and service all SAR fleet equipment at least once each month, note any damage or service needed, and report any repairs needed.