Joining King County ESAR

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 July 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, several full-day and evening classroom sessions, and a combination of homework and independent on-line learning. All courses are pass/fail and some trainees may need to repeat one or more additional weekends to successfully complete the series.

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

Basic Training Application Process & Schedule

Thank you for your interest in joining King County Search & Rescue.

Applications for the 2023-2024 training class are now closed.

Please join King County ESAR Interest and Like and Follow us on Facebook to continue to receive updates, join in discussion, and be among the first notified when new training opportunities are posted.

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

Google Calendar

Our TENTATIVE '23-'24 training schedule is available as a Google Calendar: View in Browser | Download as .ics

Training Fee

$225, Due 3 days prior to Course B

The Training Fee is a one-time payment and covers all required training to become an ESAR member.

FEMA ICS Training Prerequisites

Prior to submitting an application you must complete FEMA IS-100 and IS-700.

First Aid Certification

You must independently obtain and submit a First Aid/CPR/AED certification. 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:

It must be valid through April 2024.

If obtaining a First Aid/CPR/AED certification will pose a financial hardship, please contact

Application Process:

  1. Attend a Course A (Training Orientation) Session.
  2. After attending Course A you will be provided instructions for submitting an application and 'Meet the Team Hike' registration information.
  3. Attend a Meet the Team Hike.
  4. Wait for your application to be reviewed (this may take several weeks, we're all volunteers, thank you for your patience.)
  5. Applicants who are accepted to the 2023-24 training class (we have limited capacity) will be required to submit a King County Emergency Worker Application and Background Check form.

Returning Trainees:

If you started training in 2023 and are returning this year, please contact the training director:


The dates and times below are for the 2023-2024 season.