A hiker loses their balance and falls down a cliff. A group of nature enthusiasts decides to go into unexplored territory, lose their light and their way. A loved one doesn’t come home when expected.
All of these situations usually result in a call to the Sheriff’s Department, prompting a response by the Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team. Most of the time, there is a good ending to the dilemma.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
The team is elite partly because of its makeup of highly-trained individuals from all walks of life. Their backgrounds range from school teachers to contractors, from film directors to rocket scientists. Despite demanding day jobs, these team members form a cohesive unit which can respond to an emergency at a moment’s notice.
Along with providing a life-saving service, the group also works with the Sheriff’s Department to promote safety in the mountains and outdoor recreational areas used by the community.
The team is holding a recruitment event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7 at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, 23740 Magic Mountain Parkway in Valencia, to share their mission with anyone interested in joining up.
It’s a team that has been developing over more than 50 years.
The Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team first came into being on the night of January 27, 1957 after the rescue of a boy in rugged Loop Canyon, located in the foothills north of Sylmar. Programs to acquire training and equipment for the group’s efficient operation were set up with special emphasis on first aid and mountain climbing techniques.
Today, that original group has been transformed into a highly-trained, well-disciplined Search and Rescue team. Headquartered at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the team is composed of Reserve Deputies and “high risk” civilian volunteers.
The team, which is one of eight similar Search and Rescue teams in Los Angeles County, is on call and ready to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Qualifying for the team requires dedication and discipline.
Several of the members are reserve sheriff’s deputies and have attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy three evenings a week for six months.
There are also several “high risk” civilian volunteers who are trained in Emergency Medicine and Mountain Rescue. These are limited positions for those who do not qualify to become Reserve Deputy Sheriffs.
Team members all have very thorough training in mountaineering skills. All team members are required to become Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) certified. This training process takes about two years.
Team members are also required to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).This course lasts approximately five months. When completed with training, each member of the team is an Emergency Medical Technician, Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy and MRA certified.
A unique aspect of the Santa Clarita Search and Rescue team is that the team includes an Underground Rescue certified member. The team is prepared in the event of mine, cave or any other underground rescues.
For more information, call 661-255-1121, ext. 5161 or visit their website at www.scvrescue.com.