Search and Rescue
What is SARC?
- Search and Rescue Control (SARC) was organized in 1966 with a few Sheriff Posse members and citizen band radio operators.
- It is now a non-profit organization with several individual clubs or groups.
- Excluding the officials of the Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), SARC is strictly a volunteer organization.
- All manpower and personal equipment are given as needed.
- When working on an official mission, all volunteers (as required by Colorado law) are under the jurisdiction of the MCSO.
- When a request for assistance is made by the MCSO, SARC volunteers are dispatched as needed to complete the mission.
- These volunteers may be on foot, horseback, ATV, boat, or snowmobile as needed.
- Whatever the conditions, members do their best to meet those demands.
Search and Rescue teams
SARC consists of a variety of specialized teams to meet the needs of various searches and rescue operations.
- These teams designate members to serve on the SARC board. Each team trains in their specialty on their own time, providing their own equipment.
- They also coordinate services with other teams and the Sheriff's Office personnel.
- Each team also provides support personnel for incident command as needed.
- Technical Rescue Team provides technical climbing skills for high angle rescue.
- Mesa County Search and Rescue Ground Team provides ground search and rescue.
- Swiftwater/Boat Rescue Team provides search and recovery on the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers.
- Communications Team provides technical staffing for all communications.
- Snowskippers provides winter search and rescue operations with snowmobiles.
- Western Slope ATV provides ground search and rescue with ATVs.
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program (UAV) provides support with Drones
- Mesa County Sheriff's Posse provides ground searches by horse.
Want more information?
Visit the Mesa County SARC website.
Join Search and Rescue
If you wish to join SARC, apply online on the Join a Team page on the Mesa County Search and Rescue website.
Before members are accepted, many of these teams require members to have:
- Technical training
- Special equipment
- Certification standards
SARC membership requires:
- Continued training
- Commitment of your personal time
- Complete a Mesa County Sheriff's Office background check
Many teams have full staffing levels and there may not be immediate openings.
A team leader will respond to your application.
Need additional information?
Visit the Mesa County Search and Rescue website.
Frequently asked questions
How do I activate Search and Rescue?
Any call to 911 will begin the process. Always provide the 911 dispatcher with:
- Your name
- Contact number
- Nature of your emergency
The 911 dispatcher will notify the appropriate SAR coordinator to provide assistance to you.
Is there a charge for Search and Rescue?
The Mesa County Sheriff does not charge for search and rescue. Providers from Medical units may charge for medical services and transport:
- Fire Departments
Do not wait to call for assistance because you are worried about a bill.
Remember, if you need Search and Rescue, it is an emergency! Call 911.
You may purchase a CORSAR card at one of over 300 vendors in the state.
The CORSAR card helps defray the costs associated with Search and Rescue operations.
Should I carry a cellular phone while in the backcountry?
Cellular phones are a big help if there is an emergency.
But remember there is not cell phone coverage available in all of Mesa County due to terrain and distance.
- Your cell provider may not have service in an area where you are experiencing an emergency.
- Always make sure your battery is fully charged before entering the backcountry.
- Turn your phone off to save power until it is needed.
- Don't plan your survival tactics solely on a cell phone.
Should I carry a GPS?
Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) is a great electronic tool for establishing your location or the direction and distance to a known location (waypoint).
- GPS use requires practice with the instrument to understand how to use it.
- Because they are electronic they require batteries and they can occasionally fail.
- Search and Rescue teams train routinely with GPS, but they never venture into the field without a compass.
- We encourage that both be utilized together.
What are the PLBs I have been reading about?
A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a radio transmitter that relays an emergency signal to a satellite in case of emergency activation.
- From the satellite, the received information is relayed to search and rescue teams.
- All the satellite knows is that the PLB has been activated and the approximate location from which it is sending signals.
- PLBs do not tell the Search and Rescue Teams what kind of emergency exists.
- Search teams do not know if they are responding to:
- A lost person
- A medical emergency
- An avalanche
- It should be only activated in an emergency.
- All SAR resources are deployed because the type of emergency is unknown.
Going to explore the outdoors?
Make sure you are prepared!
Whether you are going on the river, hiking, biking, or recreating outdoors, it's important to be prepared.
Weather can change rapidly and accidents can happen.
Visit the Going for an adventure? page on the Mesa County Search and Rescue website.
Do you have a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card?
If you ever need Search and Rescue, it helps us pay for the cost!
By purchasing a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card you are:
- Contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund
- Your contribution will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in search and rescues across the State of Colorado.
- The CORSAR card is available for
- $3 for a one-year card
- $12 for a five-year card
Get your CORSAR card today!
Visit the Search and Rescue Fund website provided by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to:
- Purchase a card
- Register sticker
Follow Search and Rescue on Facebook
Do you have more questions?
Team member resources
Power form signer information
- Please address and send this to your valid email address.
- You will receive an email message to access, fill out and submit the form.
- The completed form will then be routed to MCSO staff who will approve your request and process reimbursement of the related expenses.
- Via email, you will receive a copy of the completed and approved form for your records.
Please enter your name and email to begin the signing process.