King County, WA

Est. 1954

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Membership in King County Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is open to those who are age 14 and older, have a desire to help others in the outdoors, and are willing to respond to emergencies whenever possible.

Training Resources

ESAR members thrive not only by providing the outdoor community with search and rescue services, but also by taking advanced technical, or leadership training, participating in social outings, and by contributing to the success of their peers and the unit by volunteering as staff, or committee members. As the only unit in the county that accepts youth members ESAR is committed to providing these same opportunities for youth and adult members alike. As a result, our youth members gain confidence, leadership skills, and experience dealing with dynamic and potentially dangerous situations; skills that enable them to excel as leaders both inside and outside of ESAR.

ESAR's Basic training program will provide you with the skills necessary to be an effective Team Member on a Search & Rescue operation. You will receive extensive and demanding training in wilderness navigation, survival, search procedures and basic first aid. After completing basic training members also have access to more advanced training such as search management, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification, technical rope rescue and more.

As a prospective member, you should have a passion for helping others, even during inclement weather, and on all manner of terrain; dedication to our extensive training program; a willingness to respond to emergencies whenever possible; and, positively represent King County ESAR and the King County Sheriff's Office at all times.

King County contains some of the most varied terrain in the United States: Our operations can take place just a few feet above sea level on the streets of Seattle, on the 7-8000 foot peaks of the remote Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, and everywhere in between. Our most common missions include:

  • Trail rescues or "carryouts" of injured hikers, climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Wilderness searches on both trails and in cross-country terrain for missing persons.
  • "In-town" searches for missing Alzheimer's patients, children and others.
  • Evidence searches at crime scenes.
  • Out of county missions to assist other Washington counties with both searches and rescues.

Basic Training

ESAR Basic Training is a comprehensive program designed to prepare new members for the challenges that they will face in the field. As a trainee, you will receive instruction and demonstrate proficiency in Wilderness Navigation & Survival skills, Search Method Theory, First Aid and CPR. You will also receive instruction on Helicopter Safety, Legal Issues, and Crime Scene Awareness. After basic training, many of these certifications must be maintained through ongoing training. Some can be renewed by going on missions, whereas others will need to be maintained through continuing education every two or three years. That said, the most important skill learned in ESAR Basic Training is teamwork.

Basic Training begins in August and runs through April; it is purposefully scheduled during the winter months to give trainees experience working in the worst conditions they could encounter on a mission. Training may involve snow, ice, wind, rain and other unpleasant situations. Trainees are expected to understand how to prevent hypothermia, to be aware of the conditions around them, and to take care of themselves and their team.

Basic Training requires a minimum of four weekends and four weeknights. The four weekends include overnight camping; the other classes consists of one eight-hour day of indoor class on a Sunday and three weeknights or Saturdays that are three hours. At least half of our successful trainees require one or more additional weekends to successfully complete the series.

For additional information about the training and courses, please download a copy of the Basic Training Orientation Packet.

Training Schedule 2018-2019

These tentative dates are valid for Aug 2018 through Apr 2019.

Trainees must successfully complete 1 session of each course, except Searcher First Aid Intermediate which must be attended twice. Prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to registering for each course.

Trainees returning from last year should:

  • Contact the training director: training@kcesar.org
  • Resubmit both the ESAR and King County application forms.

Course A: Orientation

Course A has concluded for the current training season.

If you would like to be among the first to be notified when the 2019-20 schedule is posted, please Click Here to sign up for the ESAR Training Mailing List.

Course B: Map and Compass
Prerequisite: Course A

The training fee is $150.00 and is due when you sign in at Course B. Check or PayPal are the preferred payment methods, we can accept cash if needed, but we cannot make change.

  • If you are paying with Check or Cash, it will be collected when you sign in at Course B.
  • If you are paying with PayPal, please use the link below and bring proof of payment to Course B.

Be prepared to have your badge photo taken at the beginning of Course B. We use this photo throughout training so we can put names to faces. This photo will also be used on your DEM identification card after you graduate.

DateTimeLocation
September 16th9:00am - 6:00pm
[updated: 9/12]
Eastside Fire & Rescue Headquarters
[updated: 9/12]
September 30th9:00am - 6:00pm
[updated: 9/12]
Eastside Fire & Rescue Headquarters
[updated: 9/12]
October 14th9:00am - 6:00pm
[updated: 9/12]
Eastside Fire & Rescue Headquarters
[updated: 9/12]
October 28th9:00am - 6:00pm
[updated: 9/12]
Central Washington Sammamish GYM
[updated: 8/22]
Searcher First Aid: Basic
Prerequisite: Course A & First Aid/CPR/AED Certification (Obtained Independently*)

*Your First Aid/CPR/AED certification must be obtained from an organization that provides verifiable credentials and the course must include a written exam and in-person skills assessment. Options include, but are not limited to:

DateTimeLocation
August 20th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
August 23rd6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
September 5th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
September 8th1:00 - 4:00pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
September 12th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
September 19th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
September 25th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 3rd6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 10th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 18th
[added: 10/2]
6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
November 1st
[added: 10/2]
6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
Searcher First Aid: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Course B & Searcher First Aid: Basic
DateTimeLocation
October 15th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 22nd6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 24th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 27th9:00am - 12:00pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 27th1:00 - 4:00pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
October 29th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
November 5th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
November 19th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
November 26th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
December 6th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
December 17th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
December 18th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
January 9th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
January 13th
[updated: 8/22]
9:00am - 12:00pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
January 16th6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
January 23rd6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
February 19th
[updated: 7/31]
6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
February 26th
[updated: 7/31]
6:30 - 9:30pmKing County Search & Rescue Headquarters
Course C: Search Theory and Field Practice
Prerequisite: Course B & Searcher First Aid: Basic
DateTimeLocation
October 20-21Sat 6:30am to Sun 3:00-4:00pmCamp Edward
November 3-4Sat 6:30am to Sun 3:00-4:00pmCamp Edward
November 17-18Sat 6:30am to Sun 3:00-4:00pmCamp Edward
December 1-2Sat 6:30am to Sun 3:00-4:00pmCamp Edward
Course I: Navigation Practice
Prerequisite: Course C
DateTimeLocation
November 17-18Sat 6:20am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
December 1-2Sat 6:20am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
December 15-16Sat 6:20am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
January 5-6Sat 6:20am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
Course II: Navigation Evaluation
Prerequisite: Course I
DateTimeLocation
December 15-16Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
January 5-6Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
January 19-20Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
February 2-3Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmCamp Edward
Searcher First Aid: Advanced
Prerequisite: Course II and Searcher First Aid: Intermediate
DateTimeLocation
February 2nd9:00am - 6:00pmCarnation - Fire Station 85
February 9th9:00am - 6:00pmCarnation - Fire Station 85
February 10th9:00am - 6:00pmCarnation - Fire Station 85
March 3rd9:00am - 6:00pmCarnation - Fire Station 85
Course III: Mock Search
Prerequisite: Searcher First Aid: Advanced
DateTimeLocation
February 16-17Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmTBD
March 2-3Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmTBD
March 16-17Sat 7:00am to Sun 1:00-3:00pmTBD
Operations Orientation
DateTimeLocation
TBDTBDTBD
Graduation
DateTimeLocation
April 14th 2:00 - 5:00pm (Doors open at 1pm)
Vasa Park Resort & Ballroom
3560 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy S
Bellevue, WA 98008

Map

Training Locations


King County Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is a 501(c)(3) Volunteer Organization.

Our members respond to over 150 emergencies every year.

ESAR is King County's primary wilderness ground search and rescue organization. Our members are outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for helping those in need. 100% of funding for training, operations, and critical, life-saving equipment comes from generous donations by local businesses, the communities that we serve, our volunteers, and people like you.