5. SAR Skills

Search & Rescue Methods & Tactics


Modern search & rescue operations focus on quickly finding and transporting the lost or missing person. To do this, ground teams must be fully trained and already know their jobs and duties. This course introduces the student to these techniques through lecture and actual operations in the field. Upon completion, the student will be proficient in modern search and rescue techniques, and be able to perform them upon request without assistance.


Full weekend course, with lectures and outdoor activities, including overnight camping.

Skills emphasized

Preliminary ("Hasty") search techniques; grid lines; critical separation; evidence searches; man tracking; search team duties & composition; types of assignments; night time techniques; sign cutting; radio protocol; briefings & debriefings; lost person profiles; safety issues; basics of the Incident Command System (ICS); packaging, evacuation & transport of the injured person.


  • Cal-ESAR Courses: Outdoor Skills, Introduction to Wilderness Navigation, Standard First Aid/CPR, and ICS course completion certificate
  • FEMA ICS 100b- Please take the following on-line FEMA course on the ICS system and forward your certificate to records@cal-esar.org
Note: The Associate Member program consists of the following courses: Outdoor Skills, Introduction to Wilderness Navigation, Standard First Aid/CPR, and SAR Tactics. The Training Staff can often substitute similar courses taught by other agencies upon pre-approval.

Time, Date and Location

Training Cal-ESAR.org

Driving Directions

SAR Skills will be held at the BBQ Terrace Group Campground. To reach the park entrance, follow these directions.
The park is located on Diablo Road, five miles east of I-680 in Danville. Take Highway 680 to Danville and get off at the Diablo Road exit. Then go 3 miles East to the Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd.
The park can also be reached from Walnut Creek via Ygnacio Valley Road.

Required Gear List

Required Gear List

Course Reference Material

Prior to attending SAR Skills, please review the following SAR Skills Reference Material. This material requires logging in to the internal area of the Training Site using your cal-esar.org issued login.  If you have trouble logging in, let us know.