Search and Rescue
Anyone lost, injured, or needing a rescue in Santa Cruz County can count on the professional Search and Rescue (SAR) team who believe that response to persons in distress is an honorable tradition. Santa Cruz County is a rural community that features 1244 square miles of beautiful, diverse and extremely rugged terrain. Hikers and hunters lost in the wilderness, children lost in the woods or hidden in landscape in the acres surrounding their homes, elderly people who have wandered away from their homes, and victims of flash flooding are some of the scenarios that confront the SAR team.
The professionals on the Search and Rescue team are volunteers who come from all walks of life and from across the community to carry on the tradition of helping others by dedicating time, information, skills, equipment and compassion.
Belonging to the SAR Team means being physically fit and physically active. Team members ride horses, camp, endure temperature and other weather extremes, hike, climb up cliffs and down caves, participate in rope rescues, as well as urban search and rescue. In addition to horses, the SAR Team also uses a variety of vehicles such as ATV’s, UTV’s Humvee’s and a large military truck. They are also technically astute using global positioning systems (GPS), various computer programs, and distance learning.
When needed, resources from within the Sheriff’s Department such as the Canine teams are activated. When someone is reported lost or overdue, volunteer search and rescue (SAR) dog teams are available to respond, day or night, to help in the search effort. The SAR Team has several duties:
- Community Services
- Cave Rescue
- Helicopter Training
- Incident Management & Communications
- Technical Rescue (Mountain and low angle)
- Swift Water Rescue and Recovery
- Urban Search and Rescue
To remain operationally ready for response, the SAR Team maintains a trained and equipped roster of 24 members. This number has proven effective and efficient. If you are interested in volunteering for the Santa Cruz County Search and Rescue Team, please contact Coordinator, Deputy Victor Coss or assistant coordinator, Deputy Luis Martinez at (520) 761-7869 and request an application. All applicants will be subject to a background check.