How to join
Our organization is built on two categories of volunteers, each with different, though essential, roles and obligations:
Complete an intensive, year long training, and are required to meet the minimum response requirements each year. Members:
- Attend 50% of regularly scheduled training meetings (GCSAR conducts 23 regularly scheduled 2-hour training meetings per year, two a month, December excepted).
- Respond to 20% of paged incidents (A minimum of 25 per year, on average).
- Are encouraged to participate in 33% of community service events (GCSAR supports between 4 and 6 community service events per year).
Help with day-to-day operations and at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). For example, facility and vehicle maintenance or other tasks. Support Members also perform a supporting role on incidents. Support members will be trained in basic GCSAR operations, including location of gear, radio operations, and trailer towing. They may attend regularly scheduled training but are not required to meet response and attendance expectations. They are not issued GCSAR gear.
About our Members
Minimum requirements for members and support members:
- Age 18+
- Possess a valid driver's license and personal vehicle insurance
- Able to pass a background check and drug test
GCSAR members are:
- Team oriented
- Safety conscious
- Calm under pressure
GCSAR work is physically and mentally demanding. We work in extreme conditions and difficult terrain. We are often helping subjects and their families on their worst days–for some, it can be the worst day of their lives. SAR work demands:
- Excellent judgment
- Physical fitness (eg. the ability to operate in extreme weather, travel long distances, stand, lift, carry loads over distance, etc.)
- Emotional intelligence (eg. the ability to self-assess and be proactive about responding to fatigue and burnout)
- Self awareness
- Positive attitude in the face of adverse conditions
How to Apply
Read the “About Our Members” and “New Member Training” section of this page. If that sounds like you, we want to hear from you! Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.
Training meetings are open to the public. If you want to attend a meeting before deciding whether or not to apply, please feel free. Introduce yourself to the commander or officer leading the meeting.
- Complete the self assessment. Previous SAR experience is not a requirement; this information helps us assess training needs.
- Send an email with your resume and a note explaining your interest in GCSAR.
- Start attending meetings and introduce yourself to the commander. After attending three meeting you will be eligible to interview.
- Interview with GCSAR leadership and selected members.
- Complete a formal application, background check and drug test (Grand County SAR works under the Grand County Sheriff’s Office; all applications are subject to approval by the sheriff.)
New Member Training
The training period is one year. New members put in upwards of 100 hours of unpaid training during this year. GCSAR believes the best training comes through direct observation and supervised, hands-on experience. As a trainee, you may begin responding to incidents as soon as your application is formally approved. Your responsibilities on incidents will start simple (think: carrying gear) and expand, along with your skillset.
Trainees will be paired with a mentor each quarter of their training year. These mentors will be your go-to for questions and training sign-offs. Members are also available for informal mentoring and will support and advise new members on incidents. As a trainee, you are encouraged to seek the support and advice from current members; everyone brings different experience and expertise to GCSAR.
After one year as a trainee, the leadership team will review the trainee's progress and decide whether to offer membership, extend the training period, or release the trainee. Trainees with specialized knowledge and/or experience may be offered membership earlier than one year at the discretion of the leadership team and with the Sheriff’s approval.
Training for support members is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on skill level and interest.