FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & Answers.
1) How much can I expect to be paid as a SAR worker?
Occasionally you may get a “free” meal, but SAR workers are all volunteers who spend their own money to train to meet unit and state standards to participate.
2) What are State Standards and Unit Standards?
Yes… All SAR volunteers must meet the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 118.04.120. Individual units have additional requirements which must be fulfilled before your may respond to search.
3) Can I at least be on TV and in the paper and become famous as a SAR hero?
There is little glamour in SAR. You may be photographed; it is unlikely you will ever become famous. The purpose of SAR is to help others.
4) My dog, Buster, has a good nose; can he be a search dog?
Possibly… Is Buster obedience trained? Does he have his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizenship certificate? Is he young enough that you can get some good working years from him after you invest two to three years training him? Does he get along well with other dogs and people? Does he do well in a vehicle with other dogs? Can he ride in elevators, helicopters and other strange vehicles without getting nervous? Click here for more information about the qualities of a good search dog. And do YOU have what it takes? Click here for a great article on handler behavior. If the answer to all of the above is yes, please join us at our next meeting to find out more!
5) My grandson bought me an ATV and I want to join. Any problems?
Our members span from teenagers to social-security recipients. If your health is good enough, you are willing to learn self-rescue skills, and you have the ability to complete certifications, your contribution is welcome.
6) I can’t do any of the outdoor stuff, but I want to help. Can you find things for me to do?
You bet! We can always use volunteers to help us with Calling, Cleaning, Cooking, Copying, Driving, Equipment care, Filing, Grant writing, Videotaping, and Writing (to name just a few).
7) How can I get you to come look for my lost cat?
Sorry to say, you cannot. Summit to Sound looks for people, most of the time. If someone you know is lost or missing, you should call the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office emergency number (911) to request assistance. The SAR deputy on duty will likely be tasked with the search and he or she will alert the SAR units needed
8) You guys always seem to have your hand out all the time and I’m sick and tired of the high-pressure tactics your telephone solicitors use!
Whoa… hold on, partner. Washington State Search and Rescue Support Council is in no way affiliated with us. They are an independent organization not connected to the state government and not connected to Search and Rescue. We do not receive any money from them; they use the title to lure people into contributing. We do not make telephone solicitations. See the Bellingham Herald archives to find what Sheriff Elfo has to say about them.
9) If I donate $1000 to Summit to Sound, can you guarantee me that you will be able to find my daughter safe and sound if she doesn’t come back from a picnic in the woods?
No. All volunteers train, certify and extend their training each year to become more skilled at the services they volunteer. No amount of training can create a guarantee of success.