The Madera County Search & Rescue (SAR) team is now accepting applications from citizens interested in becoming members.
Applications can be picked up at the sheriff's substation in Oakhurst, 48267 Liberty Drive, or at the sheriff's office in Madera, 14143 Road 28.
Interested candidates, must be 18 or older, are asked to submit their applications no later than Dec. 31, to the attention of Sgt. Jim Bernardi.
All volunteers will receive 100 hours of classroom and field training by the Madera County Sheriff's Department and novice newcomers are more than welcome. There are currently about 75 members on the team.
Madera County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Coordinator, Sgt. Jim Bernardi, said there are certain personality traits that are common to all Madera Search and Rescue team members.
"The first is a spirit of service to their fellow man," Bernardi said. "Our team members have an extremely strong sense of duty to those in need. Another trait is dedication to bettering themselves and the team as a whole so as to provide a high standard of care to the persons we serve."
Bernardi said Madera County SAR team members start by attending a thorough SAR Academy.
"Those that make the cut are offered the opportunity to apply as a Madera SAR team member," Bernardi said. "Once they are on the team the training continues and the SAR deployments start."
Bernardi said he can honestly say that Madera County Search and Rescue team members personify, through their actions, the Search and Rescue credo "So That Others May Live."
"I am proud to be associated with these people and look forward to welcoming the new team members that graduate from our upcoming academy," Bernardi said.
All applicants will be expected to attend a 9 a.m. orientation/informational meeting on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Classroom training includes:
Incident command system
SAR crime scene awareness
Basic rope rescue
Madera County Sheriff's Search & Rescue Team is trained and certified to carry out the following missions in regards to both rescue and recovery operations:
Technical rescue team
Incident management team
Off highway vehicle