Volunteer Search and Rescue
Riverside County search and rescue teams are an essential component of the Sheriff's Department as they are primarily responsible for all search and rescue missions involving lost or stranded persons in the County of Riverside.
Members respond to a variety of locations including: desert landscapes, woodland areas, and rocky and mountainous terrain. Members may also be requested under the California Mutual Aid System to respond to other counties for search requests or natural disasters.
The Riverside County Search and Rescue team members are highly trained for their environments and meet on a monthly basis at various locations within the county. Volunteers regularly respond to emergencies at all hours, day or night, and often train with the Riverside County Aviation Team regarding hoist training. No prior experience is required, however, applicants must be team-oriented, willing to learn and improve outdoor skills, and in good shape.
There are four volunteer rescue teams currently working with the Sheriff's Department:
How to Volunteer
Each community's needs are different in terms of population, terrain and lifestyle. Citizen volunteers must be over the age of 18. Volunteer hours can be flexible and scheduled to your available time.
To contribute your time and skills to your community, please contact your local volunteer coordinator for the area in which you wish to work.
Making a Difference
Here are some of the real-life rescues where search and rescue volunteers have used their skills to assist people in distress.
Lost Hiker - Cabazon Station
Deputies from the Cabazon Station responded to the Palm Springs Tram reference a lost hiker who had started a day hike at the top of the Palm Springs Tram on the San Jacinto State Park side. An hour into his hike he was separated from the other hikers in his party. No one in the hiking party was equipped for an extended hike, which would include proper hiking clothing, extra water or wilderness maps. When he did not return to the Tram area, his hiking party called 911 for assistance.
Deputies responded to the top of the tram with members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit to begin the search. The California Highway Patrol provided air support for the mission, but their efforts were hampered by the low ceiling. RMRU located him in the Little Round Valley area of the San Jacinto wilderness. He had started a signal fire; however, the fire spread beyond his control. The U.S. Forest Service Fire Department was dispatched to handle the fire, which was fortunately limited to a small area. RMRU personnel escorted him back to the upper tram station where they remained until the first tram brought them down the hill the next morning.
Lost Off-Road Vehicle River - Palm Desert Station
Deputies from the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station responded to Pinyon Pines in reference to a report of a lost off-road vehicle rider. Four adults were taking turns driving a newly-purchased off-road vehicle northbound on Palm Canyon Drive. One rider was last seen riding northbound on Palm Canyon Drive on a well-traveled dirt roadway. When he was not seen for approximately a half hour, the other three adults got concerned and began a search for him then contacted the Sheriff's Department. Riverside County Sheriff's Aviation Unit and Desert Search and Rescue were activated. The rider was located five hours after being reported as missing. He was in good physical health and uninjured.