The Team is always looking for new members to carry on the tradition of the Team. The basic requirements for membership are that you must be 25 years of age or older, be an experienced outdoorsman, and live within 20 minutes of Sierra Madre.
Once a year, candidates are interviewed by the Team for possible inclusion in the next probationary-members class. The class begins soon after completion of the previous year's class and lasts approximately 15 months. Following a brief break, the probationary members take their final exam, which includes both a written section and an exhaustive practical session. They are put through numerous scenarios to test their skills in high-angle rescue, navigation, wilderness search, & tracking.
Upon passing this test, they then spend the next 3 months becoming certified as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). During their second year with the Team, they are trained to deal with winter operations, including traveling by skis and/or snow shoes, winter camping, winter searching, and high-angle rescue on snow/ice.
Unlike the other search & rescue teams in LA County, it is important to note that Sierra Madre Search & Rescue doesn't require you to go to the Sheriff's academy, nor do we require that you become a reserve deputy. While we work closely with the LA County Sheriff's Department, we are an independent organization comprised of civilian volunteers.
While there's no denying that being a member of the Team requires a lot of work, being a member is also a lot of fun. Each year the Team sends members to various meetings and workshops around the US and Canada. Recent locations have included the Canadaian Rockies and Alaska. As part of our regular training program, each year we organize 2 backpacking trips (typically spring & fall) and a backcountry ski trip in the Sierras. Additional trainings have taken place at in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Inyo Mountains to name a few.