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How to Become a Volunteer with the Malibu Search & Rescue Team

 

Thank you for your interest in being a part of the Malibu Search and Rescue Team. 

"The Team", as we like to call it, is affiliated with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and is one of seven such teams in the county. Our base is at the Los Hills Sheriff's Station in Calabasas.

With very few exceptions, team members are sworn Reserve Sheriff Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. As a result, most of us are P.O.S.T. certified law enforcement officers while on duty with the Department.  Please note that this is a volunteer position with a whopping $1 per year as salary so we stay gainfully employed somewhere else.

To become a Reserve Deputy, you must be at least 21 years of age, a U.S. Citizen, as well as:

  • submit a very detailed personal application and pass a thorough background check,
  • pass a battery of physical & fitness exams,
  • pass a psychological exam, and
  • successfully complete the law enforcement academy.

The law enforcement academy/training is offered through the L.A. Sheriff's Academy or another similar state P.O.S.T. (California Peace Officer Standard of Training) certified course, taught at some community colleges and other law enforcement agencies in California.

The academy training requires a significant time commitment with most reserve academies meeting evenings and weekends, for 6 to 9 months, and include class instructions, hands-on training, as well as lots of homework.

Search and Rescue (SAR) training is provided by our team upon successful completion of the reserve academy.  We find that it usually takes 12-18 months of SAR training and exposure to the Rescue Team before one can become trained sufficiently to be considered "operational."  Team training includes rescue rope systems, rappelling, climbing, snow and ice operations, swift water operations, helicopter operations, wild-land fire operations, search operations, interface with other emergency service providers, and navigation and area intelligence.

In addition, all team members must obtain and retain a minimum medical training to the level of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Now a quick word of what to expect after you join the team... Each team member is required to dedicate a minimum of 20 hours per month of their time to team activities which generally include:

  • one full weekend day (8 hours) of team training when the entire team trains together,
  • one full weekend day (8 hours) of scheduled area reconicence and individual training when two (or more) members are paired up, suited up, and ready to respond to a weekend call-out, while performing training and other related activites,
  • monthly team meeting (2-3 hours) - one evening a month when the team gets together to discuss items pertinent to the team,
  • search & rescue call-outs and related operations (somewhere between 4 to 8 callouts per month).

Team members spend additional time as required:

  • staying current on their required law enforcement skills and knowledge (24 hours every two years),
  • keeping their EMT certification up to date,
  • participating in the yearly MRA re-certification,
  • etc.

When you are ready, the application is made through the Reserve Coordinator at Lost Hills Station in Calabasas. For an appointment to submit an application, contact the Reserve Coordinator's office at (818) 878-1808 during regular business hours.