BAMRU members are dedicated volunteers who share a desire to put their specialized outdoors skills to use in the service of people missing or injured in the wilderness. Being a SAR volunteer is a big commitment, but it can also be very rewarding. The first year of membership as a trainee involves a core monthly training program. Trainees can go on missions, with oversight and have to demonstrate an extensive list of skills before qualifying as a full BAMRU Member.
The minimum requirement to join BAMRU is to be at least age 18 and an experienced backpacker easily able to plan and execute a multi-day Sierra backpacking trip. You have to have good physical conditioning to perform well on long days, sometimes with little sleep. If you would like to learn more about how you can become involved in BAMRU, come to a General Meeting, meet us and hear about our current and future activities. We welcome especially people with strong outdoors experience, prior SAR or medical experience, a compelling desire to be of service to the community, and with strong collaborative and leadership skills.
Before applying to become a trainee, guests must attend at least two BAMRU meetings and two trainings, one of which must be SAR Basic in August. Before attending the trainings, guests must be sworn in by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. This is mandatory, and non-negotiable. Guests who have attended two trainings may then choose to submit an application. From the pool of applicants, a number of individuals will then be invited to an interview with the selection committee. Your application must be accompanied with: (1) certification in basic life support (BLS) CPR from the American Red Cross, or the American Heart Association (2) proof of current Basic First Aid (3) certification of FEMA ICS-100 (available online)
Being a BAMRU member requires a significant time commitment. It involves hard work, sleep deprivation, and substantial disruption to your schedule. You must have the ability, willingness, and flexibility to respond to searches on short notice 24/7 when you are available. Trainees are further expected to attend Unit meetings and participate in monthly core trainings to become familiar with team procedures and to build effective working relationships with other members. You will be expected to have your own personal outdoor gear and the skills to use them. To persevere as a mountain rescue volunteer, you will need the support of your loved ones and your workplace.
For guests who are serious about joining BAMRU, we encourage you to participate in the Mock Search and SAR Basic trainings. Attending these trainings and general meetings is the best way to learn about BAMRU, meet the members, acquire useful search and rescue skills, and prepare yourself to apply to join the Unit. Navigation, Tracking, Medical, and Snow Camping are also usually available to guests if there is space.
There is one recruitment cycle per year to select that year’s cohort of trainees. Applications are typically due shortly after the SAR Basic training in April. The new trainees begin the core training program over the next year and must clear their calendars for those monthly training dates before applying. Check the calendar for actual dates. For more information, please contact our recruiting officer at the email below. Due to ongoing disruptions from Covid-19, this year's recruiting cycle has been shifted to the fall. Applications to join the cohort of 2021 will be accepted on or before August 23rd.