How to Join Mountain Rescue

How to Join Mountain Rescue
Mountain rescue groups rely heavily on volunteers, and are always happy to have more people join their ranks. But prospective mountain rescue volunteers first must master all the required search-and-rescue skills,and supply most of their own equipment.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Get fit and learn solid climbing techniques. Many mountain rescue volunteers must haul necessary equipment to remote locations in rough terrain. This alone is demanding, requiring sufficient mountaineering skills and physical fitness to manage between 48 and 72 hours of solo, cross-country operations in the local wilderness terrain. Mountain rescue organizations will test prospective members for at least this much capability. Additional skills vary according to location. Skiing, for example, is irrelevant in Southern California, vitally important in Colorado, and optional in Pennsylvania.
Step 2
Assemble a complete climbing kit. Tools will depend on where you live. For example, an ice axe will be essential in Montana or Alaska, but won't be needed at all in Arizona.
Step 3
Get a GPS receiver. The point of rescue operations is to quickly find people in trouble. A GPS receiver is an indispensable navigation tool, and also can help with relying exact location coordinates to other team members and helicopters.
Step 4
Mountain rescue operations will usually involve multiday cross-country treks to remote locations. Camping gear should include an ultralight stove, backpack, bedroll, water bottle and mess kit.
Step 5
Enroll in first aid and/or emergency first responder. Some groups do not require certification, since many members are there to simply haul gear to the rescue site. Having these skills, however, will make you a better candidate, and could accelerate your admissions process.
Step 6
All mountain rescue volunteer organizations require members to attend a minimum number of meetings and go on a minimum number of missions. This is typically two or three sessions. Failing to make the minimum could result in suspension or membership termination. The group meetings will often include training instruction, which is important for building skills and team cohesion.
Step 7
See Resources below to find the nearest local mountain rescue organization, or contact the nearby office of the National Park Service.


Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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