Frequently Asked Questions

What is “search and rescue”?
Search and rescue personnel work to locate, stabilize and extract individuals that are in distress. While there are a variety of types of search and rescue teams, such as dog search teams, high angle rescue teams, ocean and water rescue teams, etc., the Waldo County Search and Rescue (WCSAR) team is a certified “ground search” team.
WCSAR conducts ground searches for lost hunters, hikers, and others, including children and adults affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. We also assist in recovering evidence in suspected homicide investigations, both rural and urban.

What kind of conditions does the team search in?
Search conditions vary. Team members should be prepared for heat, rain, snow or cold; seldom do we search at night, but we prepare and are equipped for that possibility.

When, where and how often does the team meet?
The WCSAR team generally meets once a month for training and/or to discuss team business. Please refer to our calendar page to see our training and meeting schedule.

What are the team’s health/fitness requirements?
WCSAR encourages physical fitness. Each member is expected to be in good health, able to walk long distances through very difficult terrain, and endure a variety of climate changes while on searches.

What is expected of a WCSAR team member?
All new team members will be assigned a mentor to answer questions and serve as a resource for team information. Team members are expected to:
– Attend monthly meetings/trainings, and to obtain and maintain certification according to Maine Association of Search and Rescue (MASAR) guidelines.
– Members are required to purchase and maintain their own personal equipment and supplies.
– And finally, call-outs: we are typically given a heads-up from our Director that we’re being called out for a search.Often, this call comes in the middle of the night, and travel in the early morning or late evening hours is typically required.

How often is the team called out for searches?
Team members should expect to be called out between 6-12 times per year.

What is the minimum age to join WCSAR?
Waldo County Search and Rescue accepts applicants that have reached their sixteenth birthday. All minors will be mentored by a certified member of the team, until the age of 18.

What is the application process?
WCSAR encourages people interested in joining to come to a meeting or two, and see what it is we do, and get any of your questions answered. After filling out an application, the Membership Committee checks references, and meets to discuss the applicant(s). At the next full team meeting, members then discuss the application and vote to accept or deny probationary membership. Probationary Members are then assigned a mentor. Full team membership is granted upon acceptable completion of certification tests and fulfilling all qualifications as stated in the WCSAR Team Handbook.

Why would my application be denied?
With a team as large as WCSAR, we have to consider whether or not we can efficiently process, train and get new members up to speed, while carrying out our regular training obligations and respond to searches. The team needs to keep a good balance, so our administrative duties don’t outweigh our training duties! For this reason, we may suspend accepting new members; however, applications will be kept on file and WCSAR will contact applicants in the event of a team vacancy.
All applicants may be asked to submit to a criminal background check. The team officers reserve the right to deny membership to applicants who do not favorably pass the background check, or limit a member’s participation level in line with their level of health and/or physical fitness.