King County, WA

Est. 1954

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Membership in King County Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is open to those who are age 14 and older, have a desire to help others in the outdoors, and are willing to respond to emergencies whenever possible.

In order to ensure that new members have the knowledge and skills necessary to positively and safely contribute to search and rescue operations prospective members must complete King County ESAR'S Basic Training program. They must also provide documentation for several independently obtained certifications and complete core-competency training as prescribed by the Washington State Department of Emergency Management and the King County Sheriff's Office.

Basic Training Overview

ESAR Basic Training is a comprehensive program designed to prepare new members for the challenges that they will face in the field. As a trainee, you will receive instruction and demonstrate proficiency in wilderness navigation, survival skills, search method theory, first aid, and evidence search procedures.

Basic Training begins in August and runs through April. It is purposefully scheduled during the winter months to give trainees experience working in the challenging conditions they could encounter on a mission. Training may involve snow, ice, wind, rain, and other unpleasant situations. Trainees are expected to understand how to prevent hypothermia, to be aware of the conditions around them, and to take care of themselves and their team.

Basic Training requires approximately 170 hours including four overnight-weekends, and several full-day and evening classroom sessions. All courses are pass/fail and some trainees may need to repeat one or more additional weekends to successfully complete the series.

Prior to submitting an application, trainees must independently obtain a First Aid/CPR/AED certification (for example AHA, ARC, or ASHII) that includes a classroom practical skills component and submit proof of certification with their application. This certification must be valid through April 1st, 2020.

For additional information about the training and courses, please download a copy of the Basic Training Orientation Packet.

Basic Training Application Process & Schedule

Training Dates: The dates posted on this schedule are for August 2019 through April 2020.

Google Calendar: Our training schedule is available as a Google Calendar. View in Browser | Download as .ics

Training Fee: $165.00 (Due at Course B)
The training fee is a one-time payment and covers all required training to become an ESAR member.

First Aid Certification:
You must independently obtain and submit your First Aid/CPR/AED certification, valid through April 1st, 2020, with your application. It must be obtained from an organization that provides verifiable credentials and the course must include a written exam and in-person skills assessment.

Options include, but are not limited to:

If obtaining a First Aid/CPR/AED certification will pose a financial hardship, please contact training.admin@kcesar.org.

Basic Training Application:

Applications for the 2019-20 training season are now closed.

Please join our Training Email List and Like and Follow us on Facebook to stay in touch and be among the first to notified when next year's training schedule is posted.

When submitting an application for the 2020-21 training season you will need to provide a First Aid/AED/CPR certification that is valid through April 2021. Plan ahead by obtaining or renewing this credential now.

If you want to get involved sooner, check out some of the other organizations that are part of the King County Search & Rescue Association at kingcountysar.org.

Returning Trainees:
If you started training last year and are returning this year, please:

  • Contact the training director: training@kcesar.org
  • Resubmit both the ESAR and King County application forms.


King County Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is a 501(c)(3) Volunteer Organization.

Our members respond to over 150 emergencies every year.

ESAR is King County's primary wilderness ground search and rescue organization. Our members are outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for helping those in need. 100% of funding for training, operations, and critical, life-saving equipment comes from generous donations by local businesses, the communities that we serve, our volunteers, and people like you.