Yolo County Search and Rescue team recruiting in Winters area

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The Yolo County Search and Rescue (Yolo SAR) team is actively seeking volunteers who live in Winters and other cities in Western Yolo County.

Armando Jaramillo, the Yolo SAR team Board of Directors President said the goal to gain members in all cities across Yolo County will help to provide a more immediate response to local search efforts.

Yolo SAR is a volunteer opportunity through the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office and is comprised entirely of volunteers who reside in Yolo County and have a passion to serve. Volunteers are on-call each day to assist the Yolo County Sheriff as a resource in both urban and wilderness search operations throughout Yolo County. However, the response time is based on the volunteers availability at the time of the mission call out notification since not everyone is readily available 24/7.

“They’ll have to know what they can or cannot do,” Jaramillo said regarding volunteers personal commitments when a mission call is sent out.

Jaramillo said his team is usually authorized to join in searches for missing individuals or to search for evidence as secondary responders. According to Jaramillo the missing individuals they are often contacted to search for are usually a medical walk away, a hiker that has gone missing or a hunter who hasn’t shown up to a meet-up point.

Yolo County SAR volunteers must reside in Yolo County. Based on availability to assist on a search operation some volunteers may be traveling from further cities based on their availability to assist on a search operation. Volunteers must also be 18 years or older, pass both a DOJ (Department of Justice) background check and Live Scan and have some degree of training in basic first aid and CPR.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Yolo SAR team has had to make adjustments in order to comply with Yolo County Health Department safety guidelines.

Jaramillo said their monthly meetings are now being conducted on a virtual platform rather than in person. Volunteers are expected to participate in a two-hour training every first Thursday and a six-hour training every second Saturday adding up to a minimum of eight hours each month. Volunteers may see more hours as they accept search operations to participate in.

The California Office of Emergency Services has recommended that California search and rescue teams resume field training to maintain proficiency.

“The Yolo County Sheriff has authorized the Yolo County Search and Rescue team to conduct field training with all the health and safety precautions of the pandemic. The Yolo County Search and Rescue Team follows those standards while training outdoors,” Jaramillo said.

The Yolo SAR team depends on local knowledge of its team members when it comes to a rescue operation. They hope to gain new volunteers from across Western Yolo County’s different communities to help provide as much knowledge about the different areas.

“Western Yolo County is a very popular place for visitors to hike and enjoy the outdoors,” Jaramillo said. “Residents from Western Yolo County and other rural areas of Yolo County play an important role understanding the terrain features and the search area especially in the search for a missing person.”

Those interested in joining the Yolo County SAR team can fill out the online application located online at https://www.yolosar.org/.

Details about requirements and expectations are listed on the Yolo SAR website.

Questions can be sent by email to yolosar@yolocounty.org.

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