Who We Are
The volunteers of the Sonoma County Search and Rescue teams are your neighbors and friends; mothers and fathers; sons and daughters. They are ordinary people who are willing to do the extraordinary when the call comes. These unpaid SAR professionals are trained in all aspects of search and rescue, including modern search techniques, land navigation and GPS, tracking skills, rescue skills, recovery, and first aid. They provide their own gear and yet must meet a standard for personal equipment and training. All members of the team are trained as Emergency Medical Responders and many others are EMT and Paramedics.
Today the Search and Rescue Team is called out when needed, usually within hours of the missing persons report. The Sonoma County SAR Team is partnered with the Sonoma County's Sheriff's Office. The team is staffed by one sergeant, who is the SAR Coordinator, and four deputies. The SAR team consists of about 40-50 volunteer civilians; unpaid SAR professionals who are trained in all aspects of search and rescue. Searches are managed by a volunteer Overhead team trained in incident command systems (ICS), command post operations, and search management. The team is available for activation during community disasters and also assists the Sheriff Office in evidence searches at crime scenes. When an airlift is needed the Helicopter/Search and Rescue Unit is available to help.
Some History of Our Unit
Our Sonoma County Search And Rescue (SAR) Team began in Sonoma County in the late 1960's with the combined organization of the Sheriff's Mounted Posse and the Sheriff's Jeep Patrol. Most of the activity of these two units was devoted to parades and the few missing person searches that cropped up from time to time.
In Sonoma County as well as in most counties throughout the State, it was common that missing person reports weren't even taken for 24 hours, and lost person cases generally had a low priority. In the 1970's, however, everything changed. Missing persons, particularly missing children, took on a new importance, and the Sheriff's Office up and down the State responded by reorganizing their search and rescue units.
By 1989, laws were passed that defined groups of missing persons that were identified as "at risk", and action to locate these persons was enabled with the formation of this new cross-trained Sonoma County Search and Rescue Team.
This web site is dedicated to providing the community with a useful place to find out more about the Sonoma County Search and Rescue team's role within our county and other local response areas.