Search & Rescue

COVID-19 Update

Members of Search and Rescue Team in the SnowSearch and Rescue training academy has been postponed due to COVID. Email us with inquiries.

About Search & Rescue

Search and Rescue (SAR) is responsible for all SAR activities within Douglas County, as defined by Oregon Revised Statues 404. Search and Rescue is defined by law as: "Acts of searching for, rescuing or recovering, by means of ground or marine activity, any person who is lost, injured or killed while out-of-doors."


Douglas County and the Oregon State Sheriffs Association are part of the HikeSafe coalition. HikeSafe's goal is to promote hiker safety and awareness. Please check out the HikeSafe Website for information that relates to almost all outdoor recreation.

Read the Outdoor Travel Tips and Outdoor Travel Essentials to help plan a safe wilderness trip, then complete the Trip Plan Form (Parts 1 and 2) (PDF), and leave them with a trusted family member or friend.

Douglas County Search & Rescue Units

The following SAR units which provide services in our community. Membership is restricted to approved applicants. All SAR unit membership is open to both male and female. No applicant will be denied membership meeting unit criteria, on the basis of race, creed, color, religion or sex. The application is essentially the same for all units; you will need to fill out an application and either turn it into the Sheriff's Office. All applicants will have a background, criminal history, and driving record check. Applications and information can be obtained from any SAR unit or from the Sheriff's Office.

  • Douglas County Mounted Search and Rescue: Equestrian unit open to all persons 21 years or older. Must have access or means to transport horse(s).
  • Douglas County Ground Search and Rescue: The purpose of the Douglas County Ground SAR is to perform general search and rescue tasks over various terrain types in all weather conditions. This is the vast majority of members in SAR. Many of these members are also involved in the other groups as well. Along with SAR missions on the ground, this group also supports the Sheriff when called upon to assist with emergency evacuations, traffic control at large events and other tasks as necessary. The minimum age for this group is 14 years old.
  • Douglas County 4 by 4 Search and Rescue: The purpose of the 4 by 4 SAR team is to provide a team that is capable of responding in almost any weather or terrain. The 4 by 4 SAR team will provide a "containment" search capability, which means the team will be deployed on roads around the area were a subject is reported missing. The team will also function as a transportation unit, providing equipment operators and vehicles to operate specialty vehicles such as snow cats and to transport searchers.
  • Douglas County Snow Cat: This team have extensive training involving snow rescues. The snow cat team operates a Tucker Snow Cat along with specifically equipped UTVs to conduct these types of operations. The Snow Cat team works in conjunction with 4 by 4 teams and Mountain Rescue teams.
  • Douglas County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (DCARES): DCARES is a group of amateur radio operators willing to assist SAR, emergency management and other agencies during emergencies or community events. DCARES is part of the American Radio Relay League. ARES Training Schedule
  • Douglas County Sheriff's Office Dive Team: Underwater (SCUBA) rescue and recovery team. This is a hybrid team of volunteers and Sheriff's Office employees.
  • Douglas K-9 Search and Rescue: This unit focus is training and use of dogs for SAR.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): This unit is for those members who have the skills and certification needed to perform search missions when unmanned aerial assets are deemed to be useful.
  • Mountain Rescue: This unit's specialty is alpine and vertical (rope rescue). The Mountain Rescue unit also provides ground search functions when applicable. The unit is open to adults and older youth on a case by case basis.
  • Tracking: The tracking team is a trained group of SAR members who have special skills in reading sign and tracking subjects over various terrains.

Applying for Search & Rescue

If you want to join Search and Rescue please print the Application (PDF) and return it to the Sheriff's Office, Search and Rescue Division. The application has to be a signed original (we can not accept faxed or emailed application).

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office follows the Oregon Sheriffs' Association's and Oregon Emergency Management's "Minimum Standards for SAR Certification Training." The document that outlines these standards is available at the Sheriff's Office.