911 for Emergency / Non-emergency 801-840-4000 support@slcosar.org



Thank you for being so interested in joining Salt Lake County Search & Rescue.

**Our next recruitment cycle is from DEC 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024 for interviews in May 2024. **

(You can submit your application, but you won’t be contacted back until after our next recruitment cycle)

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Dear Prospective Member:

Thank you for being so interested in becoming a Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteer! Salt Lake County Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer search and rescue team, and the volunteer members of our team are selected from the community. We accept applications continually. When openings are available on the team, we interview from the applications on file. We typically conduct these interviews once a year, usually in early spring, and bring new probationary members on in late fall.

As a Search and Rescue organization, maintaining Public Trust is our highest priority. All members are subject to a background check to protect our members and those we serve. Any false or misleading information provided by the volunteer or unsatisfactory background investigation reports are grounds for immediate termination.

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Volunteers must be physically fit and able to hike for long distances carrying heavy equipment over varied terrain in all weather conditions. Members are expected to provide personal equipment and supplies.

SAR missions are urgent and can happen at any time of the day or night, with operational periods lasting 6 to 24 hours. Applicants with dependents and/or demanding employment or school schedules should consider their level of flexibility in their home, work, or school schedule.

We also expect you to view Search and Rescue as a minimum 3-year commitment.


(Please read thoroughly)MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

  • Be at least age 21 years old
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of Salt Lake County
  • Have a valid Utah driver’s license
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a current medical certification (or currently enrolled) e.g., WFR First Responder, NOLS
  • Pass a Salt Lake County physical exam
  • Not have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment in a federal or state penitentiary or of an offense involving dishonesty, unlawful sexual conduct, or physical violence.
  • Not used marijuana in the past two years
  • Not unlawfully used, sold, or possessed a controlled substance in the past five years.
  • Not have been convicted of a D.U.I. within the previous two years, beginning with the date of conviction to the date of application.


If your application meets the requirements listed above, you will be contacted for an interview when openings are available in the group. We try to evaluate applicants on their relevant outdoor or rescue experience, attitude and ability to work within this group, interest level, and time availability. Experience in rescue, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, whitewater, diving, or emergency medicine helps but is not required. General outdoor interest, attitude, and good judgment are the most important qualities for rescue team members. Joining the group also involves a significant time commitment.

For more detail on this, see the bylaws and questions. Unfortunately, many otherwise well-qualified people do not have the time or flexibility to respond to calls at unpredictable times. We understand that we are a volunteer group and that commitments to employers and family come first. Still, we need to include time availability in evaluating an applicant.

Background Check

If you are selected in the interview process, you will be asked to fill out a comprehensive personal information package, which the UPD will use to conduct the background check. Completing the background check for all applicants usually takes about a month.

Health Physical

Assuming there are no problems with the background check, you will be scheduled for a physical exam. This is not a fitness test, just a medical exam to identify potential major health problems which would place a rescue team member at risk in the backcountry. This step also includes a screening for controlled substance abuse.

Probationary Membership

Again – assuming there are no major problems with the physical, you will join Search and Rescue as a probationary member. You will be issued a pager, radio, and other equipment and will participate in rescues. Your role in those rescues will depend on your skills and experience. During these nine months, you will be expected to attend at least 66% of all meetings, training, and rescues and to pass our standard yearly physical fitness test. In addition, we teach a class for new members which covers the fundamentals of technical rock rescue and our standard rescue procedures and techniques. As you learn these skills, you can expect to begin taking roles with increasing responsibility during rescues.

Full Membership

At the end of the probationary period, each probationary member’s suitability for the team is evaluated and voted on by the general membership of the team. Typically, some new members discover that their interests lie elsewhere during the probationary period or that the time commitment is greater than they anticipated. Those who remain interested, have maintained the required attendance, and have passed our introductory rescue course and the fitness test are usually approved to become full members.

Please complete the online membership application if you are ready to join the team. Thanks for your interest – We hope to have you on the team.


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