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Veteran MADSAR members and new volunteers 2016 - photo by Gina Clugston

Madera Sheriff Is Recruiting Search & Rescue Volunteers

MADERA COUNTY — Do you enjoy being in the back country? Do you want to help your fellow citizens?

If so, you are invited to learn more about becoming a volunteer member of the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team (MADSAR).

The Sheriff’s Office is actively recruiting new members, and applications are being accepted until Dec. 13.

MADSAR trainees transport injured subject after mock rescue – photo by Gina Clugston

To save a life would you: Hike into forbidden wilderness; ascend a mountain peak; crawl into an abandoned mine shaft; trudge through hot sand; or plunge into racing white water rapids?

Volunteers with the Madera County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team do all that and more in their struggle to provide life-saving services to those in need. Volunteers come from all walks of life, but have one thing in common – compassion for their fellow man.

The following MADSAR Teams are utilized by the Madera County Sheriff’s Department: Dive Team, Technical Team, Foot Searchers, Posse, 4×4 Team, Canine and Overhead Team. Many members of Madera County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue Team are cross-trained, able to assist when and where they are needed.

Firefighters and MADSAR pulling rope at Willow Creek rescue – photo by Gina Clugston

All members complete extensive training in the following areas: survival skills, tracking, land navigation, map & compass, ropes/knots, first aid and CPR and many others.

Volunteers take part in mandatory monthly training missions in order to maintain the required skills as well as developing new ones.

All members must pass written and field-testing in order to meet national standards established by the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR).

Faustina Washburn and Lyn Bockmiller at SAR mock exercise – photo by Gina Clugston


  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete the basic SAR Academy (One Saturday and one Wednesday a month from January to May)

Applications are available at any Sheriff’s Office or on their website at; scroll down to click on the SAR Application.

The Sheriff’s Office will hold an orientation on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Headquarters, 2725 Falcon Drive in Madera.

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