Thank you for showing interest in joining Search and Rescue!

In order to proceed you need to follow a few basic steps. Some are generic and apply to all SAR units, for example the Emergency Worker application and some are unit specific, for example the request form for our unit. I suggest you start the process by fulfilling all the generic requirements (see below), while considering which unit to join.

Our units are skill based and offer something for everyone. You can read more about each unit on the KCSARA website, and follow-up with the units that strike you as interesting. I recommend you select the SAR unit that meets your interests and matches your skills (or skills you want to acquire). If you already know which unit you want to join, please feel free to engage with them directly to explore the sponsorship process, after you read and fill out the attached forms.

It’s important to note that each unit and every SAR member contributes to Search and Rescue. If you choose to join, you’ll bring great value by joining any of the available units. As I said before, it’s about what you want to do and how you want to contribute! And now, that the general introduction is done, I’d like to provide information about our unit—Pacific Northwest Trackers-- to see if you may be interested in joining. If you already know which unit you want to join, or if you have no interest in joining our unit, please feel free to jump to the ‘Process’ section.

We are a small group of dedicated individuals who focus on Search and Rescue work. We use our skills to locate mission persons and we assist with crime scene investigations. It is important to underscore the fact that we are not a tracking club. We are part of Search & Rescue. Each member must participate in two or more SAR missions every year. In addition we require that members participate in monthly unit training, with an end goal of getting certified by Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services. I say that upfront because we require a high level of commitment to Tracking and SAR. Our training is hard and the skills we acquire perishable. Very perishable. This means that ongoing training is critical to success. You’ll learn, as I have, that we never know enough. Tracking is truly a lifelong endeavor.

Tracking is hard work. Examining Sign on the ground for many hours, when it’s wet and cold is difficult, and requires focus and discipline. Insects, prickly vegetation and the weather will contribute to discomfort and fatigue. We work together in harsh conditions, and we rely on each other’s knowledge, skills and support. Trackers use their individual skills to work together as a team of collaborating individuals. Our ability to work well together is as important as our ability to detect and identify Sign. In some training, we’ll be out tracking from morning till night. It’s hard, demanding work, and at the same time it’s highly satisfying, very rewarding and quite addictive.

In order to join, you’ll need to go through a process that will help us see if you are a good fit, for SAR, and our unit. First, to satisfy a Federal requirement, you’ll also need to take two simple online courses and pass the associated exams. You’ll get an email from FEMEA with your passing certification. Please send it to me. Next, a few forms to fill for King County. This includes a background check, since we often help out with evidence searches.

Our unit works very closely with King County Major Crimes. Then, some more basic information that’s needed for King County to insure you when you attend training and missions. Finally, an application to join our unit. The goal is to see whether we’ll have a good chance for a successful outcome. It takes us well over a year to prepare new members for the Basic Tracker certification—lots of time and effort from you and us—and the reason for our high joining bar.

To that end, please provide as much information as you can. We’ll use that information when we evaluate you for SAR Academy sponsorship and provisional membership in our unit. We’ll review the application and follow-up with you. As a small unit we always seek folks who can commit to this long term venture and bring value, skills and passion to our Pacific Northwest Trackers and Search & Rescue.


1. Emergency Worker applicant completes the King County Emergency Worker Application (attached).

2. Applicant completes and returns PNWTA Request for Information form to Mary.

3. Applicant returns all pages of the application, attaching copies of his/her valid driver's license, copy of vehicle insurance card, and any special licenses (medical, engineers).

4. The KCSO SAR Coordinator will review each application package (be sure to include animal sheet for dog or horse units), and will conduct a criminal background and driver’s license check.

5. Applicants will need to turn in certifications showing successful completion of the NIMS-100 and NIMS-700 courses before a DEM (Department of Emergency Management) number or ID card will be issued. These courses can be taken online at

6. Once all paperwork has been approved and the background check completed, the SAR Coordinator will contact applicant to arrange an appointment to issue an ID card with photograph and signature of applicant. This initial ID card will be a temporary, ‘Novice’ level card, and will expire 12 months from the date of issue.

7. ID cards will expire every two years, at which point each member will need to complete the renewal application and an updated background check.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or if you want to chat on the phone-- I’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

We look forward to hearing back from you!

Posted: 8/1/2014