[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The first priority of the search party is keeping everyone in the search party safe. Adequate training is required before anyone enters the field. Successful completion of the following classes are required to reach SAR Tech III and be deployable into the field.

Basic Land Navigation

Do you know how to use a compass? Most people say yes, however a compass is used for far more than just finding North. This class teaches members to use a compass with a map to help locate themselves and others, plot out a route and stick to it, and provide coordinates back to command. Proper use of a GPSr according to TCSAR standards will also be taught. The class also includes foundational understanding of UTM, magnetic declination, distance calculation and many other useful skills for the field.
Required Equipment
Compass (One with adjustable declination, clinometer, sighting mirror, lanyard, 2 degree markings, and map scales is highly recommended.) Clothing, Food, and Water for a full day of hiking outside.
Recommended Equipment

Advanced Land Navigation

This class takes the Land Navigation class to the next level… Night. Use all the same skills from Land Navigation but without the advantage of sunlight. This class is usually taught the same night of the Land Navigation class.

Required Equipment
Compass, Headlamp, Gear required for hiking for several hours at night no matter what the weather.
Recommended Equipment
Flashlight, Red marking light, Unit Radio, FRS/GMRS radio

Helicopter Use

No, you won’t learn how to fly one, but you will learn the skills required to ride in one. In searches where time is of the essence or great distances must be covered, helicopters are frequently employed. They are a powerful effective tool, but also very dangerous. Learn to respect the delicacy of these birds so you can have a safe enjoyable ride.
Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment

Search Technique

Members must learn the skills to perform searches as a team and provide a high enough Probability of Detection of the subject in order for a search to be successful.  Some of the methods taught include grid searches, sound sweeps, and attraction methods.


This is a general awareness class. Becoming a tracker takes years of practice. This class is designed to help searches to understand how to preserve evidence for the trackers to use. When tracking evidence or “sign” is properly preserved the trackers can significantly narrow down the search area in a relatively short period of time. This class is taught during the April Training cycle.
Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment
Knee pads, tracking pole, notepad, pencil, mirror
Wilderness First Aid
Equipment and Driver Training
TCSAR has acquired a variety of equipment over the years.  Every searcher must be familiar with all of the equipment and proper procedures for the use of the equipment and vehicles.  This class is usually taught during the April training cycle.  We also utilize several vehicles and if you desire to drive them, you must take the driver training.
Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment

Operations of a Search

This training will provide you with a high level of understanding of the functional roles within a search. This will allow you to understand your role better and how it relates to those managing the search. This class is geared towards those not performing a leadership role within a search, however it provides foundational information for those intending to reach leadership levels.
Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment

Management of a Search

This training is the next step from the Operations of a Search training. This is geared towards those wanting to lead teams in the field. It gives a more in-depth understanding of the search, roles within it, and all operations must take place. This helps the team leaders to understand their role better so that the searches will be performed in a way that is congruent with the goals of the entire search. This class is generally taught during the April training cycle.

Required Equipment

Recommended Equipment

Clue Awareness

Summer Hike Training


Proper packaging of a subject in a litter is a complicated and time consuming process that usually takes place in less than perfect conditions. In this class members are given the opportunity to preform this task in a controlled environment with plenty of time to accomplish the goal. Skills such as supporting and protecting the spine, ensuring the subjects comfort, secure packaging, and carrying the litter will be practiced by all participants. This training usually occurs in the April training cycle.

Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment
Climbing Harness, Large Locking Carabiner, Prusik, 20′ of 1″ tubular webbing

Weather and Geology

One of the most important rules in search and rescue is to make sure you don’t become a subject needing rescue yourself. The weather and geology of Colorado present many hazards that can threaten the safety of the searchers. Members will learn to identify and reduce these risks as much as possible.

Required Equipment

Recommended Equipment

Survival Skills

One of the most important rules in search and rescue is to make sure you don’t become a subject needing rescue yourself. Survival skills can prevent this from happening. Learn the basics of how to prepare for unforeseen circumstances. This is a high level course not intended to replace experience and in-depth survival training. This class is taught during the April training cycle.

Ropes and Knots

Safety is our highest priority in Search and Rescue. As such we frequently use ropes to help ensure against an accident. Ropes come in a variety of strengths and elasticity, all of which have a special purpose and must be understood by members using them. Similarly, the knots used have specific purposes that must be understood. This class will teach the basic ropes and knots used by TCSAR and the circumstances that are appropriate for all. This class is taught during the April training cycle.

Required Equipment
Recommended Equipment
Climbing Harness, Large Carabiner, prusik cord, 20′ of 1″ tubular webbing

Personal SAR Tech III Required Equipment
As a part of reaching the classification of SAR Tech III, a member must possess the following items and keep them prepared for use on any mission.

  • Identification Card (provide by the unit)
  • Orange Jacket/Vest/Shirt
  • The ten essential systems
    • Navigation (compass, map, GPSr)
    • Sun Protection (hat, sunscreen, sun glasses)
    • Insulation (i.e. extra clothing non cotton)
    • Illumination
    • First-Aid supplies
    • Fire (2 methods)
    • Repair Kit and Tools
    • Nutrition (extra food)
    • Hydration (extra water, or method for obtaining)
    • Shelter (bivy sack or better)
  • Note Pad
  • Pencil
  • Permanent Pen
  • Watch
  • Trail Tape – two colors
  • Leather Gloves
  • Goggles
  • First Aid Kit for subject
  • Sound signaling device (whistle)
  • Signal Mirror
  • Hands free light with spare batteries
  • Space Blanket
  • Various lengths of cord
  • Trash bags – 2 large & 2 small
  • Metal Cup
  • Toilet Paper
  • Means to heat water
  • Water purification means
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Ground Cloth
  • Scent bags (Ziploc bags)
  • Duct tape
  • 10 feet of 1″ tubular webbing

Other Equipment

Other items to have in your vehicle.

  • Complete change of clothes
  • Food
  • Water
  • Fuel for stove
  • Long term shelter
  • Blankets
  • Extra Batteries
  • Tools and repair equipment
  • Other special equipment – crampons, ice axe, helmet, binoculars, shovel, etc.