Interested in joining the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue Team?

Are there membership requirements?

You must be at least 21 years old and in good standing with the community. Because of the nature of Search and Rescue (SAR), each prospective member must pass a federal background check that is conducted by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Good physical condition is required - search and rescue is a physically demanding activity, usually over rough terrain and often in adverse conditions. Candidates must also have the desire to learn and help others. Familiarity with the local back country is a strong asset, as well as prior Search and Rescue experience.

Does it matter where I live?

There are seven SAR teams in the county of Ventura. Three are Mountain Rescue teams, which are based in Ojai, Fillmore and Thousand Oaks. Due to the geographical area of responsibilities Upper Ojai members usually live between Ojai, Santa Paula and Ventura. Fillmore team members usually live in Fillmore or Piru and East Valley members live in Moorpark and Simi Valley. The Canine, Medical, Dive and Posse Team members reside throughout Ventura County.

Do SAR members get paid?

Search and Rescue members are strictly volunteer. Most members get permission from their employers to respond to Search and Rescue call outs. The satisfaction of finding and returning someone to their loved ones or rescuing someone in distress provides tremendous satisfaction for team members.

How much time does SAR take?

Search and Rescue is definitely time consuming. Each team meets once a month for team meetings. Each team trains one weekend a month and averages 3-5 full days a month for searches and or rescues (varies between teams). This can be greatly increased if a team is called to assist another team. This increases their time commitments. Families are also affected and need to be as dedicated to the purpose as much as the team member.

Does SAR cost members anything?

Members are responsible for providing all their personal gear. Personal gear usually consists of team cold weather gear, team uniform, boots and other miscellaneous items. The Sheriff's Department supplies vehicles and some basic rescue equipment. Teams purchase additional essential equipment with donations raised from the general public.

I'm still interested, What do I do now?

If you would like to dedicate the time to become a member of the Ventura County Sheriff's Volunteer Search and Rescue Program you should request an application or you can click on the link below. If you are interested in joining the Upper Ojai SAR Team, and live in Upper Ojai SAR geographic region (Ventura-Ojai-Santa Paula), send your completed application to Depending on team needs, we consider new team members once or twice per year.

If you live outside of the Upper Ojai SAR geographic region (Ventura-Ojai-Santa Paula) or are interested in one of the other mountain teams, please see those team websites for their application process (Ventura County Fillmore Search and Rescue or Ventura County East Valley Search and Rescue).

Feel free to e-mail us with specific questions: