Prospective Members

SWVAMRG is always looking for new members! Our active members consist of a broad range of people; some are students and some are people that have lived in the area their entire lives. We have no prerequisites for people looking to join the team, however, a few recommendations are that applicants enjoy the outdoors, have some interest in emergency service, and be reasonably fit. The nature of search and rescue is often physically and mentally demanding, both in training and in practice.

What we offer:

  • Help save lives in some of the most beautiful areas in Virginia
  • Expand your outdoor experience and confidence
  • Enjoy the camaraderie of a state-wide network of dedicated, fun-loving volunteer professionals
  • Gain access to emergency training through Blacksburg Rescue and the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management

STEP 1: Becoming a Probationary Member:

STEP 2: Completing Prerequisites for Full Membership:

  • Completion of the Call-Out-Qualified Process (see below)
  • Attend At Least Three Monthly Business Meetings
  • Participate in At Least 10 Hours of Training
  • Reading of the SWVAMRG Bylaws and Standard Operating Guidelines

STEP 3: Voting Process for Full Membership:

  • Member Being Voted In by the Group at a Monthly Business Meeting

Call-Out Qualified:
The most basic level of recognition among the search and rescue program.
At this level, a member can go on a search, but ONLY IF they are accompanied by a qualified Field Team Member.

In order to become Call-Out Qualified a probationary member must:

  • Attend the COQ Classroom Presentation*, Which Includes:
    • Personal Equipment
    • Mission Basics
    • Wilderness Survival
    • Basic Medical
    • Resources
    • Communications
    • Psychological Aspects
  • Hold a Current CPR Certification
  • Hold a Current First Aid or Higher Certificaton
  • Completing All the Required NIMS Courses
  • Go Through A Pack Check for the Ten Essentials

*COQ Classroom Presentations are Conducted on an As Needed Basis

A fantastic and highly recommended resource for those starting out in Search and Rescue: National Park Service - Basic Search and Rescue.

What’s the next step?
Contact the Recruiting/Retention Officer to ask questions, or to get an invitation to our next meeting or training.

Dispatch Procedures:

  1. Our Group is contacted either a) through a VDEM SWAN (State Wide Alert Network) Alert which goes to the Dispatch Officers (DO) or b) through BVRS officers directly contacting SWVAMRG Chief, Captain, etc.
  2. The on duty DO will activate One Call Now and either a pre-recorded phone message or a text message is sent to all active members in the alert system.
  3. Once a member receives an alert it is their responsibility to contact the on duty DO with their availability, regardless of whether available or not.
  4. The on duty DO will then attempt to coordinate rides for those wishing to carpool.
  5. If possible, BVRS will provide transportation to/from searches.
  6. Members will notify the on duty DO when they leave town, arrive at the search, leave the search, and when they arrive back in town. Also, they will keep on duty DO notified of any problems to/from the search and if any stops are made that will greatly increase the anticipated arrival times. The DOs job is to help keep members safe on the way to/from searches and to keep track of resources.
  7. The DO will then close dispatch after all SWVAMRG members have returned home.

*Our team and its members will only respond to searches for which we are requested.
*COQ members will not self-respond; doing so will result in disciplinary action.
*Members will not respond to a search without first notifying a DO or one of the SWVAMRG officers.