Search & Rescue

About Search & Rescue

Clallam County Search and Rescue (S.A.R.) is a unit within the Sheriff's Department. The unit consists of highly skilled members who dedicate themselves to search and rescue and public safety education. Search and Rescue is the coordinated application of special skills and resources under emergency conditions. In addition to ground teams, operations may involve aircraft, search dogs, trackers, and other equipment resources.

We specialize in urban and wilderness search and rescue operations. Our expertise ranges from searches for Alzheimer's patients in urban settings to high-angle rescue in wilderness areas. Our search specialists are experts in orienteering and clue awareness as well as tracking.

Clallam County has approximately 180 miles of shoreline, a multitude of lakes and rivers, thousands of miles of logging roads, and the doors to many outdoor activities. When incidents occur, it is groups like Search and Rescue who are called on to carry out the SAR operation.

Public Service

We are always ready to assist any other agency that might need our skills and equipment to move someone up or down a cliff or bank. Search and Rescue can be mobilized by calling 911 or the Sheriff's Department at 360-452-7836.

Most often, we are called to search for lost persons. With some of the densest and most unique forests in the county, navigation can be a real nightmare to anyone not prepared for our ever-changing weather conditions. Some of the year-round users of our area include hunters, hikers, backpackers, mushroom pickers, cross-country snow skiers, and snowshoes. With our inviting coastline of sandy beaches, islands, rock cliffs, and caves many people get caught by rising tides and changes in the weather. We have the equipment and the members with the skills to affect rescues throughout the county.

The search for a lost or overdue person requires an emergency response. The rapid deployment of skilled S.A.R. forces including searching at night under unpleasant circumstances is a tradition of the search and rescue fraternity. Every effort is made to bring together all the critical elements of the search mission rapidly, effectively, and safely.

Public Awareness Programs: Trip Plans

In addition to search and rescue work, we are actively engaged in public awareness programs such as promoting the filing of Trip Plans before going into the woods or along the seashore. We have a slide show for a demonstration to service organizations or schools.

Trip Plans include a written destination of the trip and route description and the following information along with basic survival necessities:

  • Make, model and year of your vehicle to be left at the trailhead
  • Where the vehicle will be parked
  • Name of the people on the trip
  • When you plan to return

Take the 10 Essentials

  • Map
  • Spare Clothes
  • Extra Food
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Starter
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof Matches

Volunteer Opportunities

We are always looking for people who have the desire and time and energy to contribute. Our needs are for skilled individuals and funding. If you would like to contribute to these needs, please contact us through the Clallam County Sheriff's office at 360-417-2262 and ask for the S.A.R. Coordinator.

Search and Rescue personnel are required to complete Clallam County training before being certified. They are also required to be equipped with a standardized set of personal equipment to spend at least 24 hours in the field self-supported. Most of the members are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and they are notified by text on their personal cell phones. Members receive training in First Aid, high-angle technical work, orienteering and night navigation, helicopter rescue loading, and other areas of expertise.