How to join Wolfe County Search & Rescue
Our roster is currently full and we will not be accpeting any additional applications at this time. Thank you and feel free to check back.
The Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team serves the Red River Gorge and Wolfe County under a charter from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the authority of the Wolfe County Judge Executive. Since its inception in 2003, the all-volunteer team has responded to countless cliff falls, rock climbing accidents, lost persons incidents, various other wilderness emergencies & swift water rescues.
Besides being skilled in search operations, the team is proficient in high angle rope rescue, which is required for many of the cliff accidents that occur within the Red River Gorge. These rescues are often carried out in extreme conditions of weather, terrain, and location. They often require highly complex technical rope systems to be set up quickly, efficiently, and safely to reach, treat, package, and evacuate seriously injured persons to definitive care. This requires the team to dedicate a significant amount of time to training for these types of rescues.
We frequently receive inquiries from those interested in joining the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team. Out of all these individuals, only a small handful are able to actually meet our commitment expectations. Being a part of a rescue squad is rewarding, but it can also be a challenging commitment. To help guide prospective applicants we have created this resource to answer some of the most common questions we receive.
What’s the Time Commitment for Members?
All Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team members are expected to meet the following minimum commitments:
- Meet the teams monthly training requirements
- Attend at least 50% of our monthly meetings (either in person or via a phone-in option).
- Complete the required pre-requisite training within the first year of being accepted on the team (see the required section below).
Calls can occur at an hour of the day or night, any day of the year. While you are not required to attend all, to remain active on the team you must respond to 4 calls a year. Call-outs and training will reshape your lifestyle as a member of search and rescue.
It’s important to note that these are just the bare-minimum requirements of maintaining active membership with the team. Many of our members far exceed these minimum requirements.
What Training is Required?
The process of training is never ending. There is always an opportunity to improve a skill or to learn a new one. It’s important that team members continue to train so they can do the job that needs to be done.
In addition to requiring that members maintain a minimum of 2 training hours on average per month, the following training is required within your first 6 months of being accepted onto a SAR team in Kentucky:
- All applicants must be 18yrs or older.
- All new team members will be placed in a Wolfe County SAR training camp. This introductory training will span over 6 months and must be completed to become an active team member. Wolfe County SAR training camp includes the following requirements:
- Orientation class to include- TeamSnap, Active911, how to respond to calls, chain of command, uniforms, radio communications, By-Laws & standard operating guidelines review.
- ICS 100, 200, 700, and 800. These are free online classes offered by FEMA that include a short exam at the conclusion of the class. FEMA estimates that each class takes between 2-3.5 hours to complete.
- All members are also required to pass a Basic Search and Rescue Class within their first year of membership. These classes are offered throughout the state periodically throughout the year by Kentucky Emergency Management. It’s typically taught as a 20-hour class.
- Land Navigation Level 1
- Land Navigation Level 2
- Technical Rope Rescue (awareness class)
- Must attend a team gear day
- Must participate in a noc-moc (night time mock rescue scenario)
In addition to these requirements, those who are interested in performing technical rope rescues must complete a 40-hour technical rope rescue course. All specialty certifications require specialized training including swift water rescue and dive recovery.
How Far Away can I Live?
We frequently get asked how far away is too far to be a member of the team. There is no easy answer to this question. The important thing is that you’re able to meet the team requirements (outlined above) and that you are frequently in the area so you’re available to respond to calls.
How do I Join?
Once you’ve determined that you’re able to meet our commitment standards, the process of joining is pretty straight-forward.
The process requires that you submit an application as well as undergo a background check. Applicants must then attend two meetings before the team takes a vote on rather or not to accept the applicant onto the team. The first of these meetings must be attended in person. During the second meeting the team will hold a vote.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the team, you may complete the application that’s found at the bottom of this page. Once your application has been received, a team member will contact you to assist you for the onboarding process.
Upon submission of your application, please follow the link below for instructions on how to complete your criminal background check. You will also need to complete the workers compensation form and email it to the team. The email instructions will be provided upon review of your application.