Search and rescue drives ATVs in the snow.

Being part of the Garfield County Search and Rescue team

March 7, 2022

We have all heard about the search and rescue team in Garfield County. These highly trained individuals volunteer their time and energy to help make Garfield County a better and safer place to live. What does it really mean to be a part of this dynamic group?

Garfield County Search and Rescue’s (GCSAR) mission is to find the lost, rescue the stranded and injured, recover the deceased, and educate the public on wilderness and mountain safety. They operate under the statutory authority of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the legally responsible entity for Search and Rescue (SAR) in Garfield County. SAR provides resources locally, out of county, and out of state when requested by Sheriff Lou Vallario.

The average team member spends over 400 hours a year in training classes, field practices, Public Education programs with an occasional fund-raising event. This training is valuable and necessary; it includes becoming familiar with the various types of equipment needed to effect a successful mission. There is no cost for this training; there is also no compensation. Time and effort both in training and responding to a mission is all volunteer. GCSAR averages about five call-outs per month. Missions are initiated through the Garfield County emergency manager and the Emergency Operations division of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Being a member of GCSAR requires that you are physically fit and available for a mission any time, day or night, weekend or weekday. Availability is critical, and your level of training and expertise is paramount to the success and safety of the team. No one can respond to all the missions however, as part of the team you will be expected to respond whenever possible. Mountain search and rescue is challenging and demanding. It can be a lot of work but it is also very rewarding and occasionally a lot of fun!

If you are interested in being a part of this incredible team and the tremendous service, they provide to others, you can email them at The applicant coordinator will contact you in order to answer any questions you may have about the team as well as explain the application process.

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