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A Message for Those Interested in Volunteering for Membership in Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue

The Board of Directors of the team has elected not to open up membership or run a Basic SAR academy for calendar year 2017.  This is due partly to the fact that in 2016 we met our membership target of 50 members as a result of the large Class of 2016 Trainees, and also partly because we wanted to give our instructor team a break after 4 years of Academy training support that involves a significant time commitment each year between December and June.

However, we will run an Academy for the 2018 calendar year, and we will begin scheduling candidate member orientation meetings in August 2017.  In addition, we recognize that there are a number of individuals who have been following the team during the past year and are interested in applying for membership.  As a result, we plan to open up a small number of team events over the next 12 months to individuals who are interested in joining and who are willing to dedicate a few hours of their time to meet our members and get a feel for who is on the team and how we train.

To take advantage of this opportunity, you will need to send an e-mail to team Vice President Jim Pankow.  Please include your basic contact information (name, e-mail and phone number), a short paragraph explaining why you would like to join NFSAR to include what skills & qualities you feel you bring to the team, and a request that your information be added to our list of potential 2018 candidates.  Once you are on that list, we will stay in communication with you over the next 12 months.  You may send your e-mail to Jim at info@nfsar.com.

NFSAR MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team (NFSAR).  Our team is composed of dedicated men and women committed to providing Western NY and surrounding areas with an organization of trained rural and backcountry land search and rescue volunteers.  Our objective and purpose is to:

  • Provide trained wilderness search and rescue personnel to the DEC and local law enforcement for lost person incidents;
  • Assist with technical rural or backcountry rescue and evacuation of injured or lost individuals from rough terrain or hazardous backcountry environments if requested;
  • Develop specially trained personnel to respond to K-9, Technical Rope and Winter/Cold Weather search and rescue operations;
  • Disseminate information and conduct training programs for NFSAR team members and others concerning outdoor safety and search & rescue operations;
  • Associate with similar organizations in Western New York and the State of New York for the furtherance of the objectives of the Organization.

Similar to other volunteer organizations, members bear the cost of equipment, uniforms and travel, as well as volunteer their time for meetings, training events and responding to team search activations.  While this is a volunteer organization, attendance and participation in training events and searches are very important.  Once you have completed the Basic SAR Academy, you will be expected to meet specific baseline annual membership requirements, including:

  • Attendance at no less than two (2) of the four (4) quarterly organizational meetings;
  • Attendance at no less than four (4) of the twelve (12) monthly team training events;
  • Being capable of meeting and maintaining the minimum NFSAR physical fitness readiness standard consisting of successfully hiking 2 miles on level terrain with a 25lb pack in 30 minutes or less (U.S. Forest Service Wildland Firefighter Work Capacity Test – Moderate);
  • Remaining current with your required certifications; and
  • Providing your response status for all team activation alerts

To apply for membership, you must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and a citizen of the United States.  When applications are requested, by the Membership Committee, you will need to pay a $20 application fee and provide copies of the following certifications when requested:

  • Proof of current Basic CPR certification
  • Proof of current Basic First Aid certification (our minimum standard) or a higher level certification if you have it (Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, EMT, etc)
  • Certificate demonstrating completion of the free on-line FEMA training course Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS-100)
  • Certificate demonstrating completion of the free on-line FEMA training course National Incident Management System – An Introduction (ICS-700)

As noted above, the member application process for 2017 is currently closed as we have our team roster filled to our target level.  All information regarding the next period of open membership and the associated SAR Academy will be posted at this site as well as at our team Facebook page.

MEMBERSHIP PROCESS

For future reference, when we open up our membership for screening, processing and accepting new members, the process is as follows:

The minimum age for applying to the team is 21 years old.

We accept new member applications (when determined appropriate by the Membership Committee in June of each year) from July 30 to September 30.  We conduct informational meetings and screening interviews with all candidates during that time-frame in preparation for the general team membership to vote on the prospective new members at the December team organizational meeting.  The recruiting and open membership process may not occur every year due to year-to-year variations in the number of openings that exist as a result of individuals who elect to leave the team.

The first step in the process (if team membership recruiting is open) is to express your interest in applying for membership to NFSAR by contacting us at info@nfsar.org.  You may contact us at any time, but it is most helpful if you also contact us any time after July 15th to ensure we are aware of your continued interest.  Once you begin this application process, you will be invited to attend one of a number of mandatory team information and orientation meetings which are held in August and September.  Membership application forms are only provided to individuals who attend one of these meetings. 

NFSAR then conducts screening interviews to evaluate applicants on a number of criteria.  If an applicant is approved by the Membership Committee after the screening interview, they will be given a tentative slot in the Academy and will be voted on by the full team membership.  Once approved by the general membership, they will begin our basic search and rescue training (SAR Academy) program in January. 

Class size is limited, so we are not in a position to accept all applicants into the program.

Membership in Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue shall be based solely by an individual’s competence, ability, and desire to perform their duties.  Such membership shall not be limited nor withheld on the basis of gender, race, national origin, religious or political beliefs, age, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

Thank you for your interest in Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue!