Search & Rescue

About Search & Rescue

Clallam County Search and Rescue (S.A.R.) is a unit within the Sheriff's Department. The unit consists of highly skilled members who dedicate themselves to search and rescue and public safety education. Search and Rescue is the coordinated application of special skills and resources under emergency conditions. In addition to ground teams, operations may involve aircraft, search dogs, trackers, and other equipment resources.

We specialize in urban and wilderness search and rescue operations. Our expertise ranges from searches for Alzheimer's patients in urban settings to high-angle rescue in wilderness areas. Our search specialists are experts in orienteering and clue awareness as well as tracking.

Clallam County has approximately 180 miles of shoreline, a multitude of lakes and rivers, thousands of miles of logging roads, and the doors to many outdoor activities. When incidents occur, it is groups like Search and Rescue who are called on to carry out the SAR operation.

Public Service

We are always ready to assist any other agency that might need our skills and equipment to move someone up or down a cliff or bank. Search and Rescue can be mobilized by calling 911 or the Sheriff's Department.

Most often, we are called to search for lost persons. With some of the densest and most unique forests in the county, navigation can be a real nightmare to anyone not prepared for our ever-changing weather conditions. Some of the year-round users of our area include hunters, hikers, backpackers, mushroom pickers, cross-country snow skiers, and snowshoers. With our inviting coastline of sandy beaches, islands, rock cliffs, and caves many people get caught by rising tides and changes in the weather. We have the equipment and the members with the skills to affect rescues throughout the county.

The search for a lost or overdue person is often a difficult event for both the family of the missing subject and the responders. We strive for a rapid deployment of our teams, who are often sent out at all hours into difficult situations. In the tradition of Search and Rescue, our desire is for all involved to safely return to their homes and families.

Public Awareness Programs: Trip Plans

In addition to search and rescue work, we are actively engaged in public awareness programs. We are available to give presentations to local groups. Contact the Clallam County Sheriff's Department to arrange for a presentation by our group. 

We also promote the practice of filing a trip plan before embarking on any wilderness activity. 

Trip Plans include a written destination of the trip and route description and the following information along with basic survival necessities:

  • Make, model and year of your vehicle to be left at the trailhead
  • Where the vehicle will be parked
  • Name of the people on the trip
  • When you plan to return

Take the 10 Essentials

  • Map
  • Spare Clothes
  • Extra Food
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Starter
  • Whistle
  • Waterproof Matches

Volunteer Opportunities

We are always looking for people who have the desire, time and energy to contribute. Our needs are for skilled individuals and we can assist in the development of those skills.  If you would like to contribute to these needs, please contact us through the Clallam County Sheriff's office and ask for the SAR Coordinator.

Search and Rescue personnel are required to complete Clallam County volunteer training before being certified. They are also required to be equipped with a standardized set of personal equipment to spend at least 24 hours in the field self-supported. Most of the members are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and they are notified through an internal messaging system.  Members receive extensive training in all areas of SAR skills.