Tulare County has a long history of utlizing trained local volunteers to provide assistance in SAR operations. There are several local Volunteer Search And Rescue units.
Volunteer personnel are required to acheive and maintain the same level of required training as Sworn personnel. Some additional areas of expertise include Technical Rescue, Man Tracking and Evidence Searches. Many SAR personnel are cross-trained with multiple skill sets to provide a more effective and versatile response.
The below listed teams are sanctioned by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department to assist during SAR operations within Tulare County and across the state when called upon. In addition, every volunteer member has been individually approved by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. Civilians are welcome to apply for any of the County's designated Volunteer SAR teams. Contact any of the teams directly at their links below or email us here.
Sequoia Mountain Rescue (SMR) is the primary volunteer fast-response technical rescue team in Tulare County. SMR was formed in 2003 by Deputy K. Kemmerling who brought together a diverse group of professionals who were drawn together by a common passion for mountain adventure and a willingness to freely give of themselves to protect others. SMR provides a search and rescue unit utilizing medics and search technicians, individuals trained in steep-angle and vertical rescue.
Sierra Search Dogs
Sierra Search Dogs was founded in 1991 and incorporated in 1996. The various Search Dogs are trained as trailing dogs, for urban or wilderness search, avalanche and cold weather rescue, water and cadaver searches.
Tulare County Sheriff's Posse
The Posse formed in 1940. In the vast agricultural area, many of the local farmers and ranchers were routinely called to assist the Sheriff's Department, and that tradition continues with local volunteers. Currently, the Posse has a large Mounted unit that responds to search and rescue
call-outs with horses.
County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol
The Mounted Patrol was formed and incorporated in 1995. They are a diverse group of volunteers that perform many duties in Search And Rescue Operations while on horseback and on foot.
County Sheriff's Aero Squadron
The Aero Squadron is a member of the Western States Sheriff's Aero Squadron Association and trains in air search and message drops. You need not be a pilot to be a member.
Search And Rescue
Valley Search And Rescue personnel are all volunteers, and are primarily ground searchers.