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Becoming a Search and Rescue Volunteer

I've been an active Search & Rescue volunteer since 2007 with the Coconino County Sheriff's SAR Team in northern Arizona.

What Search & Rescue is All About and How You Can Get Involved

Are you intrigued by stories about wilderness rescues and searches for missing hikers or stranded mountain climbers? If so, perhaps becoming a Search and Rescue -- often referred to as "SAR" -- volunteer might be for you.

I've enjoyed and benefited so much from being a member of a SAR team, I wanted to share that experience with others. If you too thrive in the great outdoors and wish to help your fellow fresh air, nature, adventure and outdoor sports lovers, or just other human beings in general (and sometimes even their pets) who find themselves in unfortunate situations, read on....

Search & Rescue is Teamwork

SAR is Teamwork

SAR is Teamwork

In the photo above, two Search and Rescue teams -- our county's team and volunteers from a neighboring county -- cooperate in a somewhat technical and physically difficult rescue of an injured hiker, who fell down a steep, rocky slope (which is much steeper than it appears in the photo).

Search And Rescue: So Others May Live

SAR Stories Abound

Ever get hooked on a news story about an unfolding Search and Rescue operation, obsessively tuning in to CNN every hour to see if the missing person has been found?

Like that time an autistic boy disappeared in West Virginia's Dolly Sods Wilderness. Remember that one?

Or what about the nine-day search for two climbers missing on Oregon's Mount Hood?

Sometimes the story has a happy ending, like when a California father and his three teenage kids were found alive, days after getting lost in a snowstorm while hunting for a Christmas tree.

On other occasions, the endings are tragic, such as the case of the missing female hiker who set out with her dog near the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and was later found murdered.

Sometimes, the victim's whereabouts are known, but bringing that person out of the backcountry to safety and perhaps to a hospital (or the medical care to the patient) is the real challenge.

And sometimes there is no ending; the subject is never located.

There are those who venture into the wilderness unprepared and get into trouble.

There are people who set out as prepared as can be, but accidents happen nonetheless.

There are those who fall and those who jump.

Lost children.

Alzheimer's patients who wander off.

Floods that carry away more than just debris.

Avalanches and climbing accidents.

And the list of scenarios goes on.

So, what is it about a particular Search and Rescue mission that makes the national media take notice, while others warrant only a paragraph, tucked away in a local newspaper? Sometimes, there is no public story. But those stories are happening all the time.

Lives are being saved in the backcountry, all over the world on a daily basis, and those stories are a big deal to the people involved. On both ends of the rescue.

Search & Rescue in Action

Search & Rescue in Action

What Is Search And Rescue?

Types of SAR

Search and Rescue involves not only searching for missing people and rescuing injured hikers, climbers, skiers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts but also body recoveries, evidence searches, and disaster response.

Search and Rescue has a number of definitions and categories depending on the agencies involved.

Those categories and definitions include:

  • Mountain Rescue (aka Wilderness) SAR: Missions in this category may take place not only on mountainous terrain but also in forests and deserts, caves and canyons, on rivers and lakes, and so on. This is where most of my own experience lies and the type of SAR this article is really about.
  • K-9 SAR: involves the use of tracking, cadaver, avalanche and wilderness area search dogs. Dogs and their handlers undergo extensive and ongoing training. Many county SAR teams have K-9 units in addition to their "ground-pounders."
  • Mounted SAR: involves searching on horseback; Some horses are also known to have great tracking abilities, similar to air-scenting dogs.
  • Urban SAR: Missions take place in cities or other "front country" areas, often involving structural collapse and stranded citizens following earthquakes, storms, flooding and other natural and human-caused disasters.
  • Marine Search & Rescue: In the U.S., these types of missions are often carried out by the Coast Guard.
  • Technical / Rock Rescue: There are teams or units within SAR teams that specialize in high-angle rescue, involving systems of ropes, pulleys, and other gear specific to technical rescue situations. You can read more about technical rescue in my series beginning with Rock Rescue Academy Part 1: Learning to Rappel
  • Confined Space / Cave SAR: There are teams or units within SAR teams that specialize in these skills.
  • Swiftwater and Dive SAR: These really are two different disciplines I've combined here, each requiring specialized training. See the websites for the National Association of Rescue Divers and the Whitewater Rescue Institute.
  • Ski Patrol: If you downhill ski or snowboard, you know who these men and women are. See the National Ski Patrol website.
A canyon rescue in Arizona

A canyon rescue in Arizona

And Who Are These People? Both Paid and Volunteer SAR Professionals

While some Search and Rescue professionals have paid positions, like members of the Coast Guard, specially trained National Park rangers, firefighters, Sheriff's deputies and helicopter rescue crews, many Search & Rescue participants are volunteers.

In fact, with more than 1,500 Search and Rescue teams in the U.S. alone and thousands more around the world, it's quite possible that volunteer professionals outnumber those who are paid. My own team consists of approximately 100 volunteers and paid Sheriff SAR Coordinators, who are sergeants, deputies and lieutenants.

Search and Rescue volunteers come from all demographics, with a wide range of ages, current and former professions, skills and experience. On the team I belong to, ages range from early twenties to mid-seventies. We do have medical professionals and firefighters in the unit, volunteering when they aren't on duty, but our membership also includes a graphic designer, an office manager, a cabinet-maker, retired pilots, students, a veterinary assistant, teachers and construction workers, to name just a handful.

Search and Rescue units do have minimum age requirements, but there is no limit to the types of people who volunteer, with all manner of backgrounds and abilities. As for me, I've been a paralegal, a medical secretary, a farm caretaker, a guide at the Grand Canyon, and an office manager at an apartment complex. And I'm currently a freelance writer.

The rescue depicted in the photo above occurred on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa, said to be one of the most difficult rescue operations in years. The mission, managed by Wilderness Search and Rescue in winds gusting up to 64km/h, took more than six hours. For more on the story, see Thomas Sly's Flickr page.

SAR Video: Rescue in Grand Canyon -- A young girl breaks her leg at the bottom of a waterfall in Havasupai. A helicopter rescue follows....

When a helicopter is available, the conditions are safe enough to fly, and the extent of the person's injuries and difficulty of evacuation by ground warrant it, wilderness Search & Rescue teams are often aided by helicopters. In this situation, the remoteness of the area where the patient was hurt would have meant a very long, physically extremely difficult, and potentially dangerous extrication by ground teams ... which would have included ours.

Here's an article about being a Search & Rescue Volunteer

  • On Their Own Time and Dime
    Four vehicles with 13 people and five dogs get stuck on a Forest Road south of Lake Mary Road on Christmas Day.

Is SAR for you too?

So, who is qualified to become a Search and Rescue volunteer? Do you need extensive backpacking experience like I had? What about medical training? Or knowing how to rock-climb?

Well, those skills sure don't hurt, but they aren't necessarily prerequisites for joining a team.

Some SAR units do have more training and requirements than others, in part depending on the types of missions and terrain they most often face when there's a call-out.

One example would be Oregon's Crag Rats, the oldest Search and Rescue unit in the U.S. To be considered for a spot on the team, each applicant must not only live in Hood River County, but he or she must also have summited both Mt. Hood and Mt Adams.

Each organization has its own requirements -- or preferences, at least -- so you'd need to contact the team in your area to find out their specifics.

While having outdoor skills and experience is the norm for those who apply to become SAR volunteers, there is much one can learn while participating. The following is a partial list of trainings that my own team has offered since I've been a member. These courses, often involving both classroom and field instruction, are frequently taught by team members and most are free of charge. Some are required as part of Coconino County's Basic SAR Academy, which each member must complete before receiving a pager and being able to participate in missions, while other classes are optional (but highly recommended):

Medical Training

Many volunteers have taken the 80-hour Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School and other organizations, including some colleges and universities. Even those with an urban medical background, such as EMTs and paramedics, find WFR to be a great addition to their training. WFR teaches the first responder to deal with the less-than-ideal equipment, situations and settings often encountered during backcountry rescues, as well as improvise with whatever gear happens to be on hand.

Wilderness First Responders

Wilderness First Responders

In the photo above, students in a NOLS Wilderness First Responder course assess and stabilize a patient during a mock accident exercise. While there is plenty of classroom time during these 80-hour courses, WFR students run through many hands-on scenarios, role-playing situations dealing with physical injuries and medical conditions of increasing complexity in backcountry settings.

Physical Fitness for Search and Rescue: How much is necessary?

There's no getting around it: Search and Rescue is often physically demanding, so a moderate to high level of fitness is definitely an asset.

However, while a number of my own teammates are in excellent physical condition, others do have chronic injuries or limitations that prevent them from participating in the more physically difficult missions.

Keep in mind, there are many ways to help a team aside from the primary acts of searching and rescuing.

During a mission, not every responding team member hikes up a mountain with a backpack full of equipment or rappels into a canyon, but everyone does perform a function, even if that means simply sitting tight and waiting as backup if needed.

Tasks might include driving to and from staging areas so other team members can rest, helping to prepare maps and briefings for the missions as they arise, delivering food and drinks to searchers in the field, or driving perimeter roads to contain a lost subject.

Non-mission assistance can include maintaining equipment, such as vehicles and technical gear; serving on a team's Board of Directors; organizing and participating in fundraising events; representing the team at community fairs and functions, and so forth.

So if you have the desire to be part of a SAR team but do have physical limitations, your help and skills in other areas can often be of great value.


How to Find and Join a Search & Rescue Team

Okay, so you're still interested in Search & Rescue -- Now what?

In many U.S. counties, the local Sheriff's department is responsible for maintaining a Search and Rescue team, so that's a good place to start. Just contact the Sheriff's office or other local law enforcement in your area and ask them who oversees SAR and how you can participate.

In other places, teams are independent, most often nonprofit, organizations, which you might come across by searching online. Still, the local law enforcement will most likely know how to contact the team(s) in the area, because they probably call on them for assistance from time to time. So the sheriff or police department is still a good place to inquire.

Keep in mind, though, that not all areas have enough of the type of incidents that Search and Rescue would respond to to warrant have a designated team, so there may not be one headquartered near where you live. In those areas, when there is a need for SAR, the duties are either carried out by local law enforcement and/or EMS, or a team is called in from somewhere else in the state or even from out of state. If that's the case where you live and you really want to get involved with a team, you may have to travel a fair distance for trainings and missions.

SAR: There When You Need Them

SAR: There When You Need Them

Join a Search and Rescue team

Join a Search and Rescue team

SAR Mission Video: Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team -- The team was paged by police at 4 a.m. to rescue three young men lost on the north slopes of Scafell Pike....

If You Join a Search & Rescue Team - Just keep in mind....

Your SAR pager (or whatever means your team might use to call out its membership for a mission) can and will go off at all hours, day and night, weekdays, weekends and holidays.

Call-outs happen in all kinds of weather, no matter what you're doing. Maybe you're having dinner with your spouse at the nicest restaurant in town or reading the kids a bedtime story. Maybe you're enjoying a great movie or just getting ready to go for a jog.

You just never know when someone, somewhere, might be in trouble.

As a volunteer, sometimes you just won't be able to respond. You may be away on vacation or in a really important business meeting. Or maybe you're right in the middle of your own wedding. (Not a great time to say, "Hey, honey, can we finish this later? I have a SAR call.") And that's okay. You respond when you can.

But, as a member of a team, you should respond when you're able.

Sometimes, missions are cancelled before they get started. Maybe you left the movie theater right in middle of the mushy stuff you'd been waiting for. You're halfway across town on your way to the SAR building, trying not to speed, when your pager goes off again. You fumble for the gadget, glance at it quickly so as not to rear-end the car in front of you, and the code or message tells you you can do a U-turn and go home.

Sometimes, you and your teammates get to the SAR building, load all the gear and hit the road, only to drive a couple of hours to the staging area and arrive just as the subject shows up on his own.

Sometimes, the whole thing was just a bunch of misinformation and there never was an emergency or a lost or injured person to begin with.

But if all of that doesn't deter you ....

...if you thrive on adventure and the satisfaction of helping others....

...then definitely go for it and find out more about becoming a Search and Rescue volunteer.

A winter search

A winter search


My Own Search and Rescue Experience -- In our country's second largest county, home of Grand Canyon and the San Francisco Peaks

In October, 2007, after fifty-six hours of basic training, I became a volunteer with the busy Search and Rescue team in Coconino County, Arizona, the second largest county in the U.S.

I'm an experienced hiker, having completed a 2200-mile Appalachian Trail thru-hike and many shorter backpacking trips, but those experiences were all about taking care of me, watching my own steps, handling my own gear.

Search and Rescue, on the other hand, meant acquiring a new skill set.

It meant learning to look for and take care of others while, at the same time, watching out for my own well-being and, as a member of a team, the safety of other volunteers.

It meant learning to navigate in a number of different ways and how to communicate on a radio.

I had to learn how to track and spot clues, and what to do with those tracks and clues once I found them.

There's learning how to use ropes and other rescue equipment, and operate ATVs and snowmobiles.

Low-angle rescue, high-angle rescue, snow and ice skills. And the list goes on.

Search and Rescue involves ongoing education and practice, and those learning opportunities are often at no cost to volunteers.

If you'd like to read about my personal experience as a SAR volunteer, please visit my blog....

A Rescuer's-Eye View of a Mid-Face Short-Haul -- High risk, high drama in the Canadian Rockies

Past Search And Rescue Missions In The News -- Some Interesting SAR Headlines:

Search & Rescue Team Members In The News -- I'm always looking for news stories about SAR members and will share them here as I come across them.

Mountain Rescue Doctor - Treating medical emergencies in the backcountry

As a Search & Rescue story fan, I've read my share of books by and about the men and women in the field, whether volunteer or paid SAR professionals. Certain books have stood out for me, and I'd like to tell you about two of my favorites.

So, imagine sticking a breathing tube down someone's throat. Now imagine having to do that without accidentally inserting the tube into the patient's esophagus or breaking his teeth. Then imagine doing this while kneeling on sharp rocks on a narrow ledge, as a rescue helicopter hovers above you, the downdraft threatening to blow you off your knees and that ledge while spraying you and your patient with dirt and debris.

Endotracheal intubation is one of the most difficult medical procedures an ER doctor performs, and that's within the clean and controlled hospital setting with skilled assistance. But Dr. Christopher Van Tilburg has also been forced to intubate in much less than ideal backcountry conditions as a member of the Hood River Crag Rats, the oldest Search & Rescue team in the U.S.

Christopher Van Tilburg is not only an emergency doctor and a ski patrol and wilderness physician, he's also a top-notch writer. I spent a few days reading Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature during every spare moment (even a paragraph at a red light, I must admit).

Along with insights into the ethical challenges a wilderness physician faces and the techniques and tools of backcountry medicine, Tilburg describes many suspenseful missions. One account involves a call to Columbia River Gorge, where he intubated an unconscious patient who'd fallen from a cliff. Another chapter concerns the rescue of an injured and hypothermic man who'd fallen onto a logjam. Dr. Tilman writes about rescuing cliff divers with spinal injuries, rushing to rescue a trapped climber within the "Golden Hour," treating the victim of a rattlesnake bite, and participating in a grizzly body recovery at the scene of a mountain plane crash. Tilman has been involved in numerous high-altitude winter missions, including a much-publicized search for three missing climbers on Mt. Hood.

Another Good SAR Book: Coming Back Alive

Tales of exciting (and very risky) Coast Guard rescues

Among the stack of books I've read about the lost, the stranded, the injured and the rescued, another of my favorites was Coming Back Alive: The True Story of the Most Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Ever Attempted on Alaska's High Seas by Spike Walker.

This is a book about eight amazing rescue missions off the coast of southeastern Alaska, culminating in the edge-of-your-seat account of the Coast Guard's efforts to save the lives of five crewmen from the fishing vessel La Conte, which sunk in 100-mile per hour storm winds and record 90-foot seas in January, 1998. Without a life raft, the men are left to drift in the freezing water for hours, as three different helicopter crews try in turn to save them.

Author Spike Walker worked for years as a deckhand in Alaska. He researched "Coming Back Alive" meticulously, through hundreds of hours of interviews with survivors.

An Excellent Book About Search & Rescue: Skills, Studies and Theories

Search And Rescue Websites And Blogs - Here are some Search & Rescue resources you might find interesting and helpful:

  • National Association for Search and Rescue
    NASAR is a "not-for-profit membership association dedicated to advancing professional, literary, and scientific knowledge in fields related to search and rescue. NASAR is comprised of thousands of paid and non-paid professionals interested in all asp
  • Dog Finds Man: Canine Instinct at its Best
    A blog from KWDogs, including firsthand accounts by a search dog handler
  • Call Out
    Real search and rescue mission episodes and SAR member blogs
Me, practicing technical rescue skills

Me, practicing technical rescue skills

Questions or Comments About Search & Rescue or Becoming a SAR Volunteer?

Please leave me your questions and comments in the guestbook below. If you have a question about Search & Rescue, I'll do my best to answer or at least point you to a good source.

Would you like to see what's in my SAR pack? See some of what I carry with me on missions here.

My SAR pack, for 24-hour minimum preparedness on missions

My SAR pack, for 24-hour minimum preparedness on missions

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do I become a search and rescue volunteer?

Answer: If you're interested in joining your local/regional Search and Rescue team, I would contact your area's sheriff's department and start by inquiring there. In some areas of the country, SAR is overseen by local law enforcement. But it depends where you live. That's not the case everywhere. And each team will have its own requirements to become a member. So there's no one simple answer to your question. I do cover this in the article in more detail.

Question: How old do you have to be to volunteer for search and rescue?

Answer: That depends on the team/organization. I imagine most have an age minimum of 18, but I've seen one 16-year-old member. Her parents were also on the same team.

© 2008 Deb Kingsbury

Questions or Comments About Search & Rescue or Becoming a SAR Volunteer? Please ask and share them here

abhi on April 25, 2020:

very nice

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on February 13, 2020:

Hi, Raul. You'd need to contact the SAR unit in your area. There isn't one central place to apply or join, and I'm just a volunteer SAR member, myself. In some states, the sheriff's department oversees SAR. In other places, SAR is overseen by other organizations or agencies. If you're not sure, I would contact your local law enforcement and ask, or do an online search for your county/state and "Search and Rescue" and see if you find a team and their website with contact info.

bhavik shah on September 02, 2019:

Thanks for this useful content. It’s always a pleasure to read your great posts filled with tips really!

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on July 24, 2019:

That's true. On our team, a number of us "ground-pounders" help the K9 handlers with training by being subjects for the dogs to find. Members of the community have done the same. I don't know what team website you might have been looking at, but perhaps it was SAR-OH at https://www.ohiosar.com/ or maybe Ohio Valley SAR at http://www.vsar.org/. The latter does have a K9 team, but I'm not sure about the former. I would look up any SAR teams in your general area and contact them all--or at least those you're sure have search dogs--and contact them to see if they need or accept help with training. Good luck!

Lynn Denny on July 22, 2019:

I read some months back, in my area of Cincinnati, OH, that you can volunteer to help train SAR dogs that are in training by being a "victim". You would, for example, go so far along a trail and then wait for the dog-in-training and their handler to find you. Of course, that description is in a nutshell, but I didn't take note of the website and I was wondering if you knew of any of these types of organizations that I could get in touch with. Thank you.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on July 18, 2019:

That depends on the team. Many have a minimum age requirement of 18, but it does vary.

Tom Kobialka on July 18, 2019:

Is there any age limit ??

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on November 06, 2018:

I would suggest contacting the State of Washington Search and Rescue Volunteer Advisory Council to see which team or teams are based in your area of the state, then contact the specific team(s) to ask about their requirements for joining.

Dennis R. Lowery on November 03, 2018:

How do I join search and rescue in WA state?

microsofttech on July 25, 2018:

The way you presented this list for sites is very appreciable. Thanks for sharing this informative & helpful blog and putting hard effort and sparing valuable time.

Anissa Headlee on July 08, 2017:

My husband and I are interested in becoming certified for Equine Search and Rescue. We have been researching this for a while but have a few questions. We are located in southern Indiana and didn't know if there any training in our area or if the process of becoming certified is done independently. From what we understand there are many hands on trainings that need to be done along with book work. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on May 29, 2015:

Hi Heather,

You'll want to contact your local Sheriff's Department and see who handles SAR in your area. Here (out west), the Sheriff usually oversees SAR operations and team work under the SO umbrella. I'm not sure about back east, but local law enforcement would be the place to start. You might also contact NASAR--the National Association for Search & Rescue--and they may have a listing of teams in your area. There's more information in the article above about how to get involved in SAR.

Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 27, 2014:

Thanks for saying that. "Promoting life" ... I like that. :)

Fay Favored from USA on September 24, 2014:

I've really proud of you for being a part of promoting life. Thank you for your servanthood.

Mala Papachan from Matlock Bath, England on July 13, 2014:

It's an excellent lense. I've also watched rescues on the television, and always wondered why there isn't a gadget climbers and walkers must carry, so that rescuers can find them. I went through your list, and only found the Garmin. Do you know of any other gadgets that can find the exact location of a person, even in a remote place?

yayang0405 lm on June 07, 2014:

I salute your for being a a member of SAR Team. Great lens. Thanks for sharing.

jenjelly on June 02, 2014:

Love this lens, definitely going to come back to check out all the great resources you've linked as well.

justin-faloon on March 26, 2014:

@Flora Crew: Flora, don't let that stop you, go talk to a few SAR crews. Ease into it and find something that fits you. Talk is cheap and I can't imagine any good crew not assisting you in this.

justin-faloon on March 26, 2014:

Excellent article, it's obvious that you put a lot of work into this. Thank you for the effort of putting this together and sharing all the great information. One of you points that I especially liked was so many people think that you need some technical skill to do SAR and as you pointed out, there's a job for everyone from all walks of life. Stay safe.

davidlsk on March 26, 2014:

@Flora Crew: Please don't be squeamish! I'm a twenty year SAR veteran of several different teams both East and West, and I can tell you that the SAR community is nearly universally accepting and supportive, and not once has anyone questioned my decision about what I was or wasn't willing and able to do on a mission or as a team member. There's surprisingly little sense of judgment or competition among team members. Find a team near where you live and look into it. There's always a need for anyone interested in helping out.

yoursfoolie on March 05, 2014:

In times past I ran a non-profit poetry publishing house, which hosted live and broadcast readings as well as releasing printed anthologies and tributes. One of our poets was half of a husband-wife K-9 SAR team, and it was fascinating to listen to the kinds of poetry that came out of their times out in the great open, pitting all their strength, energy, initiative and intelligence against the forces which would foil their courageous rescues. Some of the nicest people you'd ever want to know. I can well imagine you guys look a whole lot like angels when you swim into the vision of an injured person who's been lying there thinking they might be just about to die...

bancdebinary1 on February 10, 2014:

What a great and important lens! Its initiatives like this that make the world a better place.

anon_zed on January 11, 2014:

Missing hikerâs family appeal for experts and equipment to help in search efforts

Harare, 11 January 2014 â The family of the Zimbabwean man, Zayd Dada, who went missing in the Inyangani Mountains exactly one week ago have appealed to the local and international community for help.

Rayaaz Dada, his elder brother, has asked for professional trackers, mountain climbers and hikers to come forward and assist the family in their search for his 31 year-old brother who went missing while on a hiking expedition with family and friends.

He said the search parties efforts had been hampered by rain and fog and the complexity of the terrain had made rescue efforts difficult.

Dada said there was a need for people with experience in high angle rock search and rescue, mountaineering and hiking as well as thermal scanning units which would help immensely in the search for Zayd.

âWe are appealing for anyone who can help us to come forward. Time is of the essence and we are getting desperate. We need to find Zayd,â he added.

He said at the moment there were at least 80 people on the ground searching for Zayd but that there was need for many more feet on the ground.

âWhile we are so grateful to all the volunteers who have come forward and are helping us we still need many more and, more importantly, we need people with the requisite experience and equipment to help us find Zayd.â

Dada said his family, and especially his mother and Zaydâs wife Neelam were distraught and beside themselves with worry, but he said they would never ever give up in their search for his brother.â

âWe know Zayd is somewhere out there. He is lost and probably exhausted and injured. We need to find him and bring home as soon as we can. We are begging for anyone who can help us to please come forward,â he added.

He said the family was overwhelmed by the messages of love and support they had received from all over the world and by the numbers of people who had come forward to offer their help in trying to trace the whereabouts of Zayd.

âWe thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and we appeal to you not to give up on Zayd and to continue to pray and to help us to find my brother and to bring him home to my mother and his wife,â said a highly emotional Dada.

Zayd, his wife Neelam and another couple went hiking in the Mount Nyangani area on Saturday 4 January. Halfway up the mountain his wife and friends decided to turn back and Zayd continued up the trail without them. He has not been seen since.

Anyone who can offer help or advice in anyway can log onto the Facebook page Lets Find Zayd!!! They can also contact Rayaaz Dada on 0774279807, Tariq Dada on 0779390360 or Mohamed Khan on 0777022706 if they want to offer any support.

Media Please Note: For further information please contact Shehnilla Mohamed on 0772158065 or Shehnillam@gmail.com

Flora Crew from Evanston, Illinois on January 05, 2014:

It sounds interesting, and I would like to have those skills but I am a little squeamish about the idea.

Family_Survival_Strategies on December 28, 2013:

Breathtaking! There is no group of people I admire more than people who risk their own lives to help others such as in search and rescue efforts. They are not just extremely intelligent but resourceful and astonishingly brave. Hats off to all the men and women who put themselves at risk like this every day. Be well!

WordChipper on December 09, 2013:

What an excellent lens. Thank you for creating this.

Mohan Babu from Chennai, India on November 23, 2013:

Good post on wildlife rescue.

DebMartin on October 05, 2013:

I really admire those of you who do this kind of work. Special.

Im2keys on October 02, 2013:

This is amazing, and I'm so very impressed and appreciate what you do!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on October 02, 2013:

Thanks for all you do!

steadytracker lm on September 07, 2013:

I use to do some volunteer work back when I was state side. A great lens. Thank you for sharing.

blestman lm on August 05, 2013:

Great lens. Thanks. I did some search and rescue when I was a wilderness ranger in Canada. Let's just say that sometimes the results can be gruesome. Still I would do it again in a heartbeat

BlowDryBar on August 04, 2013:

Wow, what an incredible and heroic group of people!

DtKnight on July 29, 2013:

As someone who really believes in helping out others in my life before I die, this is a truly inspirational lens to do just that. My father was a search and rescue helicopter pilot, and it would be fun to follow in his foot steps, at least in the searching and rescuing aspect. I doubt I could fly helicopters what with my shoddy vision! Thanks for your lens!

socialcx1 on July 06, 2013:

Hi there, great lens and I hope it inspires more people to volunteer their time for any of these services.

RinchenChodron on June 29, 2013:

Excellent - congrats on being one of the top 200 lenses! Well deserved.

mandybeau lm on June 14, 2013:

Brilliant Lens

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on May 26, 2013:

This seems like it would be so rewarding!

Mandy Stradley from Riverton, Utah on May 19, 2013:

I am humbled by volunteers and people like you! Thank you for your service!

Palitra27 on May 18, 2013:

I admire those guys who are volunteering to rescue people.

topbuilderlist on May 14, 2013:

Wow a lot of rescue activities tips on this lens. This is very useful topic to arouse the feelings of other people who are willing to volunteer to help others.

GreenMind Guides from USA on May 07, 2013:

what a great lens. death defying! thanks.

junkcat on May 01, 2013:

No questions but it sound like a great service

Fridayonmymind LM on April 21, 2013:

It takes a special type of person to do this. Where I live it is called The State Emergency Service but it's the same thing.

brianmcgee11 on April 15, 2013:

Hi, I think you are amazing at what you do, i would love to be like you, but not brave enough !

RitaAnne on April 15, 2013:

I really admire the effort and spirit of the volunteers. Kudos to all of the SAR volunteers!

mrdata on April 10, 2013:

Interesting lens! Thanks! By the way, I really admire the volunteers!

xscottbx on April 03, 2013:

I really admire people that give of their own time to help other people. Search and rescuers do this all the time and deserve all of our praise. Great lens!

anonymous on March 29, 2013:

I hope you get lots of people reading this and joining your group.

I am on a Winston Churchill Travel fellowship from the UK spending 2 monthes in the USA looking at SAR practice and training and taking info back with me , have spent some time with people at Great Lakes K9 sar and now at Camp atterbury with Indiana SAR academy.

All the best to your endeavours, stay safe I have a blog

please feel free to comment

anonymous on March 28, 2013:

Very good lens - I am a member of a Community Emergency Response Team. We received training on Light Search And Rescue.

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on March 26, 2013:

Wow! Well done. SAR volunteers are heroes in my eyes!

Fcuk Hub on March 15, 2013:

I have been a volunteer once. Great experience. It helps me know the life from another dimenzion.

Fcuk Hub on March 15, 2013:

I have been a volunteer once. Great experience. It helps me know the life from another dimenzion.

uneasywriter lm on February 13, 2013:

Great lens! I was on search and rescue while I was in college in Montana.

DaveP2307 on February 06, 2013:

Great people and a great Lens about them.

Well done!

john9229 on January 25, 2013:

Highly respect to the volunteer team!

johnsja on January 15, 2013:

Search and rescue volunteers are truly inspiring. Great lens. Blessed.

Accounting-firm on December 31, 2012:

Great lens. I learn too much from it.

Stephanie from DeFuniak Springs on December 23, 2012:

As a 911 dispatcher I fully understand the importance of volunteers for both fire, search and rescue and multiple other agencies. Great lens! Blessed!

chas65 on December 20, 2012:

My hat is off to those that volunteer everywhere, but especially those like you who are in life or death situations. We owe you and the others a tremendous debt of gratitude.

mariacarbonara on December 10, 2012:

Its amazing that such an important and vital job is performed by volunteers! Great lens

Snakesmum on December 09, 2012:

Fascinating lens! What a pity I'm too old to volunteer now.

Enda McLarnon from Belfast, Ireland on December 08, 2012:

This was a very interesting read. I watched them on TV recently searching for a missing child and they all do awesome work.

abarth76 lm on November 25, 2012:

Search and rescue volunteers all over the world. I take my hat off to you all and applaud your dedication.

Zach Spangler on November 22, 2012:

Hey, I was your 1000th squidlike. Figured that was important enough to mention :P

no questions, though.

CoolKarma on November 19, 2012:

I live in Australia and I am always in awe of what our incredible SAR volunteers do. Especially in times of our frequent natural disasters.

Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on November 10, 2012:

Hi Deb. I found you here on Squidoo. Love the Ramkitten handle. When I was in high school I was in the Civil Air Patrol and we would have SARCAP drills about twice a year in Hammond's Airport. It was a fun thing since one objective was to burn up a lot of aviation fuel.


mistaben on November 10, 2012:

Very good written information.

TapIn2U on November 10, 2012:

It takes courage and a big heart to be a search and rescue worker. Hats off to all search and rescue workers in the country! Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

Freestuffer LM on November 07, 2012:

I salute to all volunteers and rescue team! Keep going. :)

anonymous on November 07, 2012:

Waoo!! i can organise SAR volunteer here in Sabah Malaysia.May be if you can help to give some info& technics aand so, so that we can try to carry it out here to those in need.

Noveliaa on November 06, 2012:

Very good information. Thanks for sharing!

aussiejon on November 06, 2012:

Great lens, being a search and rescue volunteer would be such a rewarding experience, the benefit they bring to the community is immeasurable.

OUTFOXprevention1 on November 04, 2012:

Search and Rescue has been such an important part of saving lives in my home area.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on October 31, 2012:

Deb, thank you for such an awesome and truly inspiring lens, and congratulations on your well deserved purple star! Blessed!

ketchingup lm on October 27, 2012:

I wish I were younger so I could participate in this type of volunteerism, but at 63 I'm more likely to need rescuing.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on October 22, 2012:

Hi I enjoyed reading this story, great lens. Blessed and added to my lens...Squid Angel flinnie.

anonymous on October 12, 2012:

How do I become a volunteer?

philipcott on October 09, 2012:


TommyPotter on September 24, 2012:

My respect for such a noble activity!

JospehLau on September 09, 2012:

I love doing volunteer work... it's very fulfilling!

Lens_Market on September 05, 2012:

Volunteers are really good and honest people. I deeply respect them.

lesliesinclair on September 02, 2012:

I admire these people so much!

maryLuu on September 01, 2012:

It's a very risky job, but in the same time very rewarding.

Cavedweller on August 31, 2012:

god bless anyone who is brave enough to do these jobs!

BryantMongan on August 31, 2012:

Great informative lens... I learned a lot, thanks :)

WinWriter on August 16, 2012:

Very thorough lens. Thanks for posting this very important information for all who want to become a SAR volunteer. *Blessed *

jasminedessy on August 16, 2012:

Good Job .. truly amaze me ..

I like it

TaylorNicoleW on August 14, 2012:

Came across this lens from your post in the "Introduce Yourself" thread.

What a great lens! I'm a member of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and it's wonderful to meet other civilians who are interested in SAR and emergency response!

I've bookmarked this lens and will be checking out the links when I have more free time. :)

anonymous on August 11, 2012:

Helping people is a great community spirit effort. Posted this on FaceBook for you , Deb. Cheer! :)

Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on August 06, 2012:

I can't imagine what one goes through to be one of these volunteers. Blessings for doing all that you do. :)

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on August 04, 2012:

I really liked this lens!!! In the past I have been a volunteer for the Crisis Center. If I were younger I would love to be a SAR Volunteer. I guess I could volunteer in some capacity when I have time. Maybe be the coffee gal? :) Angel Blessings**

Mamabyrd from West Texas on August 02, 2012:

I would love to become a WAR volunteer! I flew on the back of a Medical Evac Helicopter in the military.It was the highlight of my career

JoshK47 on August 02, 2012:

Popping in to bless this wonderful lens!

anonymous on August 02, 2012:

Great and very usefuly lens. Thanks.

anonymous on July 30, 2012:

Nice lens.

thebestcooler on July 27, 2012:

@lynnasafriend: Agreed:) People should be called "inhumane's" rather than "humans" the way people act, think and/or react. If only the world was full of people like yourself:)

thebestcooler on July 27, 2012:

Nice lens! Volunteers make the world go round.

Tahamtan on July 26, 2012:

I have never been a search and rescue volunteer. Something to consider...

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

This really looks like an exciting volunteer experience if you are the nature, "bear-grylls-type" person. I was also doing something similar in ghana for a year and it was one of the best experiences in my life.

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