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The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team offers an academy once per year, starting in August and ending in October. The purpose of the academy is to instruct prospective team members in the skills and techniques necessary to work as a basic team member. The academy covers search tactics, rope rescue, navigation, and other topics. Academy sessions are held weekly on a weekday evening, from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm and on several weekend days. A precise calendar will be provided to all prospective attendees.
Prospective members must attend at least 2 regular team meetings before the start of the academy, and complete a personal interview with team management. Additionally, prospective team members must submit to a background check, which may include a credit check and criminal history check.
Academy attendees must have current CPR certification prior to the start of the academy. Acceptable CPR certificates are:
It is expected that academy members will attend all classroom and field instruction sessions. In addition to the in-class work, weekly reading assignments will be given, and some skills will have to be practiced regularly and on the prospective member's own time. In extreme cases, a prospective member may miss one session, but the prospective member must notify academy staff beforehand, and must make arrangements to "make up" the material covered.
During the course of the academy, prospective members will be required to purchase and use certain materials or equipment, including a textbook, specific helmet and rescue devices. Typical equipment costs can start at $300 and may run much higher, depending on what equipment is already owned. A complete equipment list will be provided to all prospective members at the beginning of the academy. The class room texts are The Fundamentals of Search and Rescue (Jones and Bartlett, ISBN: 978-0763748074) and Using Your GPS with the Universal Transverse Mercator Map Coordinate System (Carnes).
While in the academy, prospective members must complete the team's fitness test, which is a 5 mile trail hike over steep terrain while carrying an appropriately sized backpack load.
Within one year of completing the academy, team members must attain certification at the "First Responder"/"Emergency Medical Responder" level of medical training.
Timothy is the Academy Director and Training Coordinator. He has been a member of the SAR team for a number of years, and he brings 23 years of experience serving in US Naval Special Operations, handling critical missions and projects.
A veteran team member, Rusty is the team's Training Officer and the primary instructor for Ropes and Technical Rescue. He also runs the SCCSSAR Type 1 Team, a group that specializes in high-altitude, all weather search and rescue operations.
A member of the SCCSSAR Type 1 Team, Nat is the instructor for the 24 Hour Pack lecture.
A long-time member of the SCCSSAR team, Jackie also serves with the Civil Air Patrol and as the team's Operations and Planning Officer. Her class covers SAR Management and "Do's and Don'ts".
Kelly, an experienced orienteer and mountaineer, is the navigation instructor.
Kris serves as the team's Administrative Officer. In addition to her extensive work with search canines, she also serves as the "Search Tactics" instructor.
Last but not least, Jeff the director of the team, has been involved in SAR for several decades and has an extensive background in SAR management.