Search and Rescue Detail has primary responsibility for all search and
rescue missions involving lost or stranded persons within the
unincorporated areas of the County as well as certain contract cities
the Department services. Upon request from other jurisdictions, the SAR
Detail will respond to any other city, and occasionally, to other
counties within the state under a mutual aid system. The Detail also
activates during natural disasters such as wildfires, flooding and
All SAR members
are registered with the San Diego County Office of Disaster Preparedness
as Disaster Service Workers. This registration enables the members to
qualify for State Worker’s Compensation benefits in the event of
personal injury or death while on duty.
History of Search and Rescue
In March of 1963
the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, first formalized search and
rescue team was formed as part of the Sheriff's Department, Emergency
Since 1963 the success rate for Search and Rescue stands at approximately 98% without
being able to fully close the few "mystery" cases. We believe this
record is second to none.
The SAR Detail has
maintained an outstanding record of safety for victims and members alike
while engaged in SAR operations. The Detail has never been held
accountable for an injury or death as a result of negligence or
malpractice. Those SAR missions that have resulted in victim deaths have
always been attributed to accidents that occurred prior to the callout,
suicides, or acts of god beyond our control.
The San Diego
County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Detail is recognized nationally
as a member of the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR), by
state and local peer groups, and by local agencies, as being a well
trained and qualified organization. Our SAR organization conducts a
training academy recognized by the Sheriff's Department. A Search and
Rescue volunteer who has completed our Academy will have over 220 hours
of Search training prior to responding to missions.
Today, the SAR
team is comprised of 10 units of expertise, each specializing in
particular skills, which enhance an operation. These units are Rescue
(Technical and Non-technical), Communications, Canine, Medical,
Logistics, Mounted, Motorized (4 X 4’s and off-road vehicles), Training
has entered the SAR picture and such tools have assisted us in saving
lives. With our Mobile Command Bus which is equipped with computers,
printers, radios, plotting table, GPS systems, night vision goggles,
television/VCR and maps we have been able to operate and staff personnel
on missions for days.
years, the Sheriff’s SAR Detail has grown tremendously. Currently, our
organization has over 200 volunteers that contribute countless hours of
their personal time. In excess of 20,000 man-hours and 250,000 miles in
their privately owned vehicles are donated each year. In dollars and
cents, this adds up to saving the county of San Diego $425,000 annually.
The years of
voluntary service by the Sheriff's Search and Rescue Detail most
accurately demonstrates the Department’s vision; "We are recognized and
respected as a model organization having the confidence of the public.
We have the resources and a dynamic working environment that attracts
and retains highly competent employees. We are innovative and responsive
to the needs of those we serve."