4900 M32 W Alpena, MI 49707

Phone: 989-354-9836


Prospective ALPENA COUNTY SAR Member


Time and Money Commitment

The time commitment is extensive.

Search and Rescue is a serious service with which there is a sound expectation of professionalism, commitment and conscience.

Alpena County SAR (ACSAR) generally trains as a group once a month participating in a full team drill quarterly on a Saturday and the third Thursday evening of the month.  You should plan on an additional 4 to 10 hours each month, training on your own, attending classes to fulfill your probationary training Task List and training with other members of the team. Training takes place year round regardless of weather. In addition, most members attend at least one out of County class every year and ACSAR is trying to provide as much local training opportunities as possible.  Even after you have fulfilled your 1 year probationary period, training never stops and you are required to attend 75% of all formal sessions.

Callouts for actual searches tend to occur at inconvenient times and often in the middle of the night. Searches typically occur in some very remote areas in the tri county region. ACSAR is on call, all day and night, every day of the year, and members, with few exceptions, are expected to respond.

The time commitment required of the team is not strictly devoted to training and searching. Members must also participate in public awareness events and assist in the day to day operations. This level of commitment affects your family, friends and career. Therefore, it is necessary to have the support of your family and at least an understanding by your employer to undertake this endeavor.

Because we are a volunteer organization, you must pay all of your own expenses, including training costs, equipment, transportation and lodging where needed.

Physical and Psychological Fitness Requirements

To participate in search work, you must be both physically fit and healthy. Searches can potentially last up to 12 hours a day for several days and be located in areas of very rough terrain with inclement weather. Your search area may be steep, brushy, swampy, snowy, covered with poison ivy or inhabited by bees, ticks, and mosquitoes. We train in these same areas and under these same conditions. If you have an illness, or any physical or psychological limitations, it is best to consult with your physician to make sure s/he approves of this activity.

There is also the possibility of having to spend the night out in the wilderness during a search, so mental as well as physical fitness is a must. Remember, on a search you are there to help and should not become a victim yourself.

Being a search and rescue team member requires a certain psychological fitness. We wish to encourage your interests but there are a few realities to consider.

  • A serious long-term commitment is mandatory.
  • There are always potential risks.
  • You will be expected to go out in the woods at night with multiple team mates.
  • You must be willing to share the forest with snakes, ticks, spiders and bigger “residents”.
  • A positive attitude, confidence in your abilities, self-reliance and ability to evaluate if you are capable of performing “the search” is a must.
  • Honesty and acceptance of constructive criticism are necessary.
  • You must be psychologically prepared to cope with finding deceased subjects.
  • Search and Rescue is a lifesaving service where egos and personal prejudices have no place.

The 3 Steps in Becoming a member

If, after reading and considering the above information, you wish to meet us and find out more about our team, here is the process:


If you are interested in coming to one of our weekly training sessions with our K-9 Unit, contact our K-9 Training Coordinator, who will tell you when and where you can meet us. If you are interested in coming out to one of our monthly trainings/drills contact one of the Board members for further details.  Please come properly dressed in a long sleeved shirt (even in the hottest weather), long pants, a baseball cap, long socks, and hiking boots, if you have them. Tennis shoes are not recommended. Bring water to drink and insect repellent. We recommend that you observe at least one training session before you decide to join the team.


Once you complete the observer period, you can submit an application to the Sheriff’s Department. A background check and an interview will be conducted.  Once accepted you will be assigned a mentor and will receive the “New Member Guidelines”.

Associate and Operations Member:

Upon notification that your application has been approved, you will be welcomed on board as an Associate Member and will be on a probationary status for 1 year. During this time you will be invited and expected to attend 75% of regular team trainings. This will also provide you with the opportunity to work with other members and get to know them as we help you through your Task Training Checklist. This experience will give you a better idea of the time commitment and amount of work required to become a SAR member.

Once you complete your “Task List” training we will consider you an Operations Member which means you are operational in that capacity and you may participate in actual search missions. At this same time, if you are interested in other resources in ACSAR as in the K-9 Unit, Mounted Division, ATV Division, or Search Management we will evaluate and guide you accordingly.

During every aspect of your training, you will be expected to keep a training log to monitor and document your progress.

Full Member:

At the end of the 1 year probationary period, we will evaluate your interest and commitment and establish your acceptance as a Full Member. As such, you must continue to maintain 75% attendance and must continue to progress your own skills.


Keep in mind, we are not a “club” but a professional volunteer organization servicing the needs of the community. We will work with you to assist in your training and progression, but the burden is upon you to achieve your goals.

We hope that this frank explanation of our requirements has not dampened your enthusiasm nor deterred your interest, but we feel it is necessary to be well informed before deciding to pursue the goal of being a member of ACSAR.