Since 1985 VASARCO and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), in conjunction with outside industry experts, have developed world class training and operating standards, some of which have been adopted by other teams throughout the United States. Although we are all volunteers, our team members come from diverse backgrounds. Many of our members are paid search, rescue, fire, medical and law enforcement professionals who bring a wealth of national and state level expertise and knowledge to our mission.
Besides monthly, and in some cases weekly, individual Group team training events, VDEM provides all members free access to their Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) Academy. Three times a year, in different locations throughout the State, VDEM offers 40 hour courses in all aspects of search and rescue operations, allowing members to gain State SAR certification. These courses include Search Team Operations, Search Team Leadership, Management Team Operations, Management Team Leadership and Foundation for Awareness, Signcutting and Tracking.
While ensuring strong cross trained SAR assets, VDEM also provides 16 hour classes for those who request our services. Local, state and national law enforcement agencies are our clients. Known as AHJ’s (Agencies Having Jurisdiction), these law enforcement agencies are the ones who request our services through VDEM when an individual goes missing or needs to be rescued. Outreach and training for these agencies on a regular basis is crucial to their understanding of what our capabilities are, how we work and when to call us.
Inquiries should go to SARTraining@vdem.virginia.gov.