About our Members
BAMRU members are men and women who share a desire to put their specialized outdoors skills to use in the service of people missing
or injured in the wilderness. BAMRU members are climbers, skiers, mountaineers and backpackers. Self-sufficiency is a trademark of BAMRU.
Members are prepared to operate in the field autonomously and without support, for up to 72 hours.
Who can participate in BAMRU
The minimum requirement to join BAMRU is to be an experienced backpacker aged
18 or older, able to plan and execute a multi-day Sierra backpacking trip and
have it not be a big deal. You have to have good physical conditioning to
perform well on long days, sometimes with little sleep. We very much welcome
specialized skills, including rock climbing and mountaineering, advanced
medical training, ham radio, and prior SAR experience. We want to continue
to strengthen our mountaineering capabilities, and are particularly
interested in people with glacier travel and alpine experience. But these are
Certification requirements before application to become a Trainee Member:
- Certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR - only 2 types accepted:
- Basic First Aid
- FEMA IS-100 certification
These are not required to participate in trainings as guest.
Search and rescue entails hard physical labor, sleep deprivation, and
substantial disruption to your schedule. You must have the ability,
willingness, and flexibility to respond to operational call-outs on short
notice (sometimes in the middle of the night), as well as commit time to
monthly trainings and meetings. To perservere as a mountain rescue
volunteer, you will need the support of your loved ones, and your workmates.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become involved in BAMRU,
come to a General Meeting shown on the calendar
. If you have specific questions, feel free to write to us.
BAMRU will be offering a search and rescue basic training as described in the
calendar. Attending these trainings and general meetings is the best way to
learn about BAMRU, meet BAMRU members, acquire useful search-and-rescue
skills, and prepare yourself to apply to join the Unit. Completion of the
SAR Basic Training Course, plus attendance at one other training and two
General Meetings will make you eligible to apply for membership.
Guests are encouraged to attend our monthly General Meetings. Guests are
sometimes allowed to attend the monthly trainings. Because the purpose of
trainings is build and reinforce skills within our entire team, many trainings are
not open to guests. Some trainings are open to guests by invitation only.
People with particularly strong outdoors experience, prior SAR experience, or
a compelling desire to be of service to the community are more likely to be
invited to trainings.
What can I expect if I join BAMRU?
Traineeship involves completion of an extensive skills certification
checklist. Trainee Members are expected to attend monthly General Meetings
and Trainings to acquire and practice skills, familiarize themselves with
team procedures and to build an effective working relationship with other
members. Trainee members are eligibile to go on operations on a case-by-case
The time commitment to be a BAMRU trainee is large. Trainings are typically
full weekends or long (3-day) weekends. BAMRU maintains a list of skills
that Trainee Members must demonstrate proficiency in to apply for Field
Member status. Most trainees find they have to spend additional time
practicing skills to achieve full mastery. Individuals accepted to Trainee
status are expected to complete this process and apply for Field Member
status within two years of acceptance. Callouts come at inconvenient times
and can require you to change or cancel your plans on short notice. It is
essential that Trainee Members have a life that can accomodate these demands.
BAMRU is not for everyone and there are others ways to be a search and rescue
volunteer. The San Mateo Sheriff's Office
contributes to to many search and rescue operations and provides other
services such as medical patrols and traffic and public safety at major
events. Every California county except San Francisco has a search and rescue
team which welcomes committed volunteers. We encourage interested individuals
to explore other local teams to find the best fit.
How to Apply for Trainee Membership?
Before applying to become a trainee, guests must attend at least two BAMRU
meetings and two trainings, one of which must be SAR Basic. Guests may then
be invited to fill out and submit the
and meet with the Board of Directors. We recommend you talk to the Unit
Leader or a senior member before filling out the application.
BAMRU is a resource of the San Mateo Sheriff's Office. Joining BAMRU entails
joining the Sheriff's Volunteer Forces. After being accepted to BAMRU, you
will have about 60 days to complete and submit a detailed, lengthy,
time-consuming and intrusive Sheriff's background check form. Should the
Sheriff's Office in its sole judgement determine that your background is
unsuitable, you will not be able to be a part of BAMRU. Background issues of
particular concern include a felony conviction, restraining order, or
outstanding criminal charge; any such concerns should be discussed with the
Unit Leader prior
to submitting an application.
If I live outside the San Francisco Bay Area, how can I get involved in SAR?
If you would like to learn about opportunities to contribute to search and rescue efforts in your community, contact your county sheriff or other local law enforcement agency.