does the money come from for all this?
is some funding from the Ventura County Sheriff's department. This
goes towards the team's significant expenses for equipment such as
ropes, rescue hardware, stretchers, medical and trauma treatment
equipment, and so forth. This is insufficient to cover expenses.
The team also receives donations from charitable
foundations, grateful individuals and families. Fundraising and
grant applications require significant effort and account for a
major portion of the team's funds for purchasing vehicles and
you get paid?
Everybody is a volunteer, providing their own time for training,
team administration, and searches. In addition everyone provides
the required personal equipment. We are regularly asked about
employment or career opportunities. Because everybody is a
volunteer, the normal concepts of employment or career do not
VCSAR has a certified dog
team. The dog teams are trained
extensively in search operations as well as Area, Trailing and
other organizations does VCSAR work with?
work with a variety of other
agencies. On any call, we can be working closely with Ventura
County Fire, Forest Service, State Parks, other SAR teams, LA
County Fire, EMS Providers and CHP. This close
interaction with other emergency services requires that every team
member be highly trained and that we work in a very professional
there other teams?
Each County in the state has their own team. In larger, more
diverse counties like
, there are 7 search and rescue teams which include, Fillmore,
Ojai, and East
Mountain Teams, Underwater/Dive Team, Posse Team, Medical Team, and the
such as Los Angeles County, there are several teams. Take a look at the Links page
for information on other teams.
kind of skills and equipment do I need?
to the large variety of mountain and wilderness situations the
team can be exposed to, it is simply difficult to provide
"from the ground up" training in all of these. The
objective of team training is to enhance existing skills, not
teach novice ones. Potential team member should have outdoor
experience in activities such as hiking, climbing, mountaineering,
back country skiing, and navigation. Experience working in a
variety of environments is very desirable since we can be working
in 100+ degree weather or in the snow. No one joins the team with
a full set of skills, but if you have never hiked a trail, VCSAR
is not for you.
A related subject is equipment. It's assumed that aspiring team
members are already experienced "outdoors-type" people.
As such, they are likely to own the appropriate outdoor equipment,
such as backpacks, boots, clothing, and so forth. Team members
must be able to travel through a mountain environment in any
weather for extended periods of time, and thus need the personal
equipment required to do this. Specialized equipment is
provided by the team; however, the vast majority of equipment
required is normal outdoor gear and must purchased by the
applicant. Those starting with nothing can spend several hundred
dollars on gear. It is recommended that applicants wait to
purchase gear until equipment is discussed in the academy.
you tell me more about the time commitment?
point cannot be emphasized enough. The team will consume a very
large proportion of your once-free time. Team members are expected
to attend a minimum of 70% of the trainings and 50% of the
call-outs. While everyone is a volunteer, VCSAR is looking for
people who are willing to give more than the minimum. Many calls
occur outside of work hours, but your employer must be able to
tolerate you suddenly leaving. People who travel often and are not
available when required, generally cannot commit to the team.
you enjoy the outdoors, learning new skills, and working as part
of a team, then you are an excellent candidate for VCSAR. Search
and rescue is extremely demanding, requiring highly trained and
physically fit members. If, after reading all of the above,
spending a few days thinking about it, discussing it with your
loved ones, you're still interested, think some more! If you're
still interested after all that, learn how to join the team.