The Search and Rescue teams provide a wide range of services to the residents and visitors of El Dorado County. Our purpose is to:
Our mission of saving lives is accomplished through the support of trained volunteers and Sheriff's deputies. Although deputies coordinate the Search and Rescue teams, an effective rescue team would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers. See Our Mission Statement here.
• Provide emergency services to citizens who are lost, stranded or injured.
• Provide services necessary to rescue such persons and provide them with appropriate medical care.
• Handle all search and rescue operations in a professional manner.
All volunteers are required to pass a variety of tests to become a Search and Rescue team member. Such tests include First Aid, CPR, and Map and Compass Reading. Specialized units require proficiency in cliff rescue/rock climbing, swiftwater rescue, high altitude scuba diving, and nordic skiing. Along with having special skills, the Search and Rescue volunteers are required to participate in monthly training and are always subject to call-outs, often at night or during extreme weather. The Tahoe Team has approximately 50 volunteers serving the Tahoe Basin area.
Examples of typical search and rescue missions are:
• Search for lost/injured skiers at resorts and in the back country
• Respond to plane crashes in wilderness areas and in lakes and ponds
• Rescue injured hikers on various alpine peaks and in Desolation Valley
• Rescue stranded climbers on Lovers Leap near Strawberry
• Rescue kayakers, rafters, and others stranded in the American River and other waterways
• Search for divers involved in accidents in Lake Tahoe and other bodies of water
El Dorado County Search and Rescue is comprise of:
A number of aircraft are available to us for search and rescue efforts, including helicopters belonging to Calstar, the CHP, and the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nevada. Read more about them here.
We are supported by a non-profit corporation, the El Dorado Search and Rescue Council, or ESARC. See how ESARC fulfills its commission here.
"We, the members of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, in our mission to save lives and reduce human suffering, will give the public the most effective personnel and resource response to search, rescue, and disaster emergencies."
How We Fulfill Our Mission A simple test measures how well we honor our mission. We do well to ask ourselves:
Am I the kind of searcher would I want searching for me? In other words...
- Am I well-trained?
Am I skilled enough not only to face hazards, but to find and rescue someone else at the same time?
- Am I well-equipped?
Am I equipped not just for the everyday search, but for the unexpected, the hazardous, the extreme?
- Am I well-led?
From Incident Commander to Team Captain, are my leaders experienced and well-trained?
- Am I available?
Am I willing to go even when the mission will be hard and uncomfortable?
- Am I mature?
Can I put the team's interests, and especially the subject's interests, above my own?
- Am I physically fit?
Do I have the strength and stamina for my expected tasks and for unforeseen ones too?
- Am I mentally fit?
Am I prepared for the mental and emotional demands I know searches will bring, and am I willing to seek help when I'm overwhelmed?
- Am I compassionate?
Do I think of the lost subject as I would want others to think of me?