Search & Rescue Reserve Unit

The Search & Rescue Reserve Unit is comprised of sworn (Level I, II & III) deputies and non-sworn civilian Professional Services Responder (PSRs) members. The unit is responsible for managing urban and wilderness searches for missing persons, and supporting the safe detection and apprehension of fleeing suspects. The unit has formal agreements for mutual aid with the California Emergency Management Agency, the US Forest Service's Cleveland National Forest, and many other local agencies.

Assignments within the unit are based upon the level of training the unit member has completed.   Members are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, and are expected to call a designated information line upon receiving department pages.

Search & Rescue Reserve Unit Team

Squad Assignments


K-9 Operations/Bloodhound Squad


The Bloodhound Squad is comprised of specially trained members who work very closely with the unit's bloodhounds on a variety of search-related calls. The dogs are highly trained to detect and trail trace scents over long distances. The squad is the most active of all the unit members, due to the high volume of calls for assistance from the department and also assisting other agencies.  Squad members must be in good physical condition, as the dogs frequently trail in a running mode for several miles.


Land Operations Squad


The members of the Land Operations Squad conduct basic land-based search operations.  They are trained to operate in urban, suburban and wilderness environments.

Land Operations Squad

Technical Search Squad

The Technical Search Squad is comprised of sworn deputies and PSR members who utilize various types of technical equipment to conduct specialized searches for persons or evidence. Technical equipment includes metal detectors, night vision goggles (NVGs), night scopes, sound enhancement devices, electronic transmitter locators (ELTs) to locate missing person and trapped person locators (TPLs) to located live victims in building and structure collapses.

Technical Search Squad

Technical Rescue Squad


The Technical Rescue Squad is tasked with the responsibility of conducting rescues and recoveries in hard-to-access areas. Most frequently these areas are mountainous and require the use of ropes and specialized equipment which when combined form "technical rescue systems". Technical Rescue Squad members must be in excellent physical condition, comfortable with heights, be team-oriented and must successfully complete a thorough training regimen that spans all of the rescue skills necessary to participate in a technical rescue mission.

 Technical Rescue Squad

Medical Squad

The Medical Squad is comprised of those members with advanced medical training. Members include doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians and other medical professionals. The unit provides emergency medical and triage services at incidents.

 Medical Squad

Command Support Squad

The Command Support Squad provides on-site staffing of the command post.  The members of this squad are trained in the use of the command post equipment, tracking software and other specialty equipment as well as the communication functions.

 Command Control

Logistics Squad

The members of the Logistics Squad maintain all the unit equipment and vehicles so they are available for emergency incidents and training exercises.

 Logistics Squad

Off Road Enforcement Team

The Off Road Enforcement Team is comprised of reserve deputies who utilize off-road 4-wheel drive vehicles to provide patrol support in hard-to-access areas of Orange County.

Off Road Enforcement Team


Each member of the Search & Rescue Reserve Unit must maintain up to date and proficient with all department required training, including Continuing Professional Training (CPT) as well as the following:

  • CPR/First Aid
  • AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)
  • NIMS 100 & 700
  • SAR Technician II - National Association of Search & Rescue (or equivalent)
  • Rescue Systems I - State Fire Marshal (or equivalent)

Members must also attend monthly training to maintain their skills. Training is normally held the first Sunday morning of each month, at a location announced.

SAR Equipment

The following inventory is required of every member of the unit, and is the National Association of Search & Rescue (NASAR) required equipment for all SAR Tech II certified personnel.

SAR Pack Inventory (NASAR manifest)

  • 4 Bags, various sizes, zip locked
  • 1 Bandanna, handkerchief
  • 1 Cap or other headgear
  • 2 Carabineers (locking)
  • 1 Clothes bag, waterproof
  • 1 Clothing, adequate for climate
  • 1 Clothing, extra set, suitable for climate
  • 1 Compass, orienteering
  • 1 Flagging tape, roll
  • 1 Flashlight or lantern
  • 1 Flashlight extra, extra batteries and bulb
  • 1 Footwear, sturdy, adequate for climate
  • 1 Gloves, durable (leather)
  • 1 Goggles, or eye protection, clear
  • 1 Insect repellent
  • 1 Knife, multipurpose
  • 1 Lip-balm, with sunscreen
  • 1 Measuring device, 18 in. minimum
  • 1 Metal cup or pot
  • 1 Mirror, small
  • 1 Nylon twine or small rope, 50'
  • 1 Pack, 1800 cubic inch (minimum)
  • 1 Pad and pencil
  • 2 Prussik slings (suitable for 9mm to 11mm rope)
  • 1 Rainwear, durable
  • 1 SAR personal ID
  • 1 Shelter Material, 8x10 plastic or coated nylon
  • 1 Scissors, multipurpose
  • 1 Socks, extra pair
  • 1 Sunscreen lotion
  • 2 Tea bags
  • 1 Tissue paper or baby wipes (recommended)
  • 1 Tracking stick, 42"
  • 1 Watch
  • 1 Water container, at least liter size
  • 1 Webbing, 1" tubular - length suitable for harness
  • 1 Wire, 5-10', woven steel
  • 8 Wire ties, plastic, self locking

Personal First Aid and Survival Kit

  • 4 Acetaminophen or aspirin tablets
  • 4 Antacid tablets
  • 2 Antiseptic cleansing pads
  • 1 Antiseptic ointment
  • 6 Band aids, various sizes
  • 1 Candle, long burning
  • 2 Cotton swabs, non-sterile
  • 1 Duct tape, 5-10'
  • 1 Leaf bag, large
  • 8 Matches in a waterproof container
  • 1 Moleskin
  • 1 Plastic bag, zip lock, qt. size
  • 1 Quarter, for phone call
  • 1 Razor blade, single edge safety type
  • 1 Roller Gauze Bandage
  • 2 Safety pins, large
  • 1 Splinter forceps, tweezers
  • 1 Space blanket/bag
  • 1 Towelette, clean
  • 1 Whistle

Optional Personal Support Gear

  • 2 Antihistamine, 25mg Benadryl
  • 2 Extra leaf bags
  • 1 Extra water container
  • 1 Foam pad
  • 2 Food, nonperishable
  • 1 Gaitors
  • 1 Rain cover, pack
  • 1 Sterno or stove
  • 1 Sunglasses, 97% UV protection
  • 1 Trail snacks
  • 1 Water purification tabs

Join the Team!

For more information on joining the Reserves, see our Join Our Reserve Team page, or call the Reserve Office: 714-566-2711.