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 five weekends and one weeknight. Four of the five weekends include overnight camping; the other two weekend days are split and each consists of one eight-hour day of indoor classes. 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 2017-2018

The 2017-18 training season has concluded. The 2018-19 training schedule will be posted soon. If you would like to be notified when the schedule is posted, please Click Here to sign up for the Course A Mailing List.

These tentative dates are valid for Aug 2017 through Apr 2018.

Trainings must be completed in the order that they appear below.

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
REQUIRED:
  • Bring current photo ID (Drivers License, Passport, or student ID)
  • Bring proof of current auto insurance if you drive. If minor, bring parents auto insurance.
DateTimeLocation
August 1st7:00-9:00 PMSammamish - Fire Station 83
August 9th7:00-9:00 PMIssaquah Highlands - Fire Station 73
August 17th7:00-9:00 PMIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
August 21st7:00-9:00 PMIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
August 26th9:00-11:00 AMIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
August 29th7:00-9:00 PMIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
Course B - Map and Compass
DateTimeLocation
September 9-108:00am - 5:00pmIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
September 23-248:00am - 5:00pm23rd: Issaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
24th: Issaquah Highlands - Fire Station 73
October 7-88:00am - 5:00pmIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
October 21-228:00am - 5:00pmIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
Course C - Search Theory and Field Practice
DateTimeLocation
October 7-8Sat 6:30 AM to Sun 3:00-4:00 PMCamp Edward
October 21-22Sat 6:30 AM to Sun 3:00-4:00 PMCamp Edward
November 4-5Sat 6:30 AM to Sun 3:00-4:00 PMCamp Edward
November 11-12Sat 6:30 AM to Sun 3:00-4:00 PMCamp Edward
Course I - Navigation Practice
DateTimeLocation
November 4-5Sat 6:20 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
November 11-12Sat 6:20 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
December 2-3Sat 6:20 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
January 6-7Sat 6:20 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
Course II - Navigation Evaluation
DateTimeLocation
December 2-3Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
January 6-7Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
January 20-21Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
February 3-4Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMCamp Edward
Searcher First Aid
DateTimeLocation
January 27th9:00 AM - 6:00 PMCarnation - Fire Station 85
February 10th9:00 AM - 6:00 PMCarnation - Fire Station 85
February 17th9:00 AM - 6:00 PMIssaquah - Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
Course III - Mock Search
DateTimeLocation
February 17-18Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMTBD
March 3-4Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMTBD
March 17-18Sat 7:00 AM to Sun 1:00-3:00 PMTBD
Graduation
DateTimeLocation
April 15th 2:00 - 5:00 PM (Doors open at 1PM)
Vasa Park Resort & Ballroom
3560 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy S
Bellevue, WA 98008

Map

Training Locations

View a map of all of our training locations, or get driving directions: [View Map].

  • Camp Edward:
    Approximately 15 miles north of Monroe, WA
    See Training Packet for directions
  • Issaquah:
    Eastside Fire and Rescue Headquarters
    175 Newport Way NW, Issaquah, WA 98027 (East door
  • Issaquah Highlands:
    Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 73
    1280 NE Park Drive, Issaquah, WA 98029
  • Sammamish:
    Fire Station 83
    3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road SE, Sammamish, WA 98075
  • Carnation:
    Fire Station 85
    3600 Tolt Avenue NE, Carnation, WA 98014

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.