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What does a Mounted Search & Rescue (SAR) team do?
A mounted SAR team coordinates with other emergency organizations in search and rescue operations. Riders on horses can cover far more terrain, in a shorter period of time than a man on foot, and a horse with its highly developed senses of hearing, sight and smell, is often able to locate a victim before human search personnel are able to do so.

Who joins a Mounted Search & Rescue team?
Most mounted SAR groups are made up of civilian volunteers. Volunteers supply their own horses, equipment, and transportation. A great deal of time is also contributed toward continuous training for search and rescue operations.

Searchers Looking over field

When is the Mounted SAR division called out?
If a sheriff's office is contacted about a missing person or is in the middle of a disaster situation, the sheriff will determine if circumstances warrant the help of mounted SAR. The mounted SAR team is prepared to be called out in all kinds of weather and at all times of the day or night.

Where does the San Mateo County Mounted Search and Rescue operate? 

Though the San Mateo County is our main staging area, SMCMSAR operations are not limited to the county region. The Mounted Search & Rescue team has been called to help other county emergency groups as far away as the Sierra Nevada mountains.

What supplies do Mounted SAR members carry?
SMCMSAR members are required to have comprehensive SAR equipment and trailer supplies, as well as first aid supplies for victims. See our equipment list of required equipment.

What skills are Mounted SAR members required to have?
Search and Rescue team members and their horses are trained in all aspects of search and rescue.
Riders are taught law enforcement procedures associated with disaster response and search and rescue operations. SAR teams are also trained in advanced first aid, compass and orienteering; and other relevant skills.
Horses are trained to remain calm and alert in all conditions. They are schooled in all types of emergency situations, such as helicopter traffic, flares, sirens, crowd control, night riding, carrying two riders, and traveling over difficult terrain.
Horse and riders are trained to work as a team with another horse and rider in order to pull a victim to safety, clear trails, lead another horse and rider.

Do Mounted SAR groups do anything other than search and rescue?
In addition to search and rescue operations, mounted SAR groups can also be called out for disaster situations. Mounted SAR groups attend seminars and hold classes and seminars to help the community better understand their role with the sheriff's office. The groups also represent their sheriff's offices in parades and other public functions as well as by participating in charity events.

How do I join the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Mounted SAR Unit?
Go to our Join Us page to download an application and for more information on joining.

How do I join a Mounted Search & Rescue group in my area?
You can view our Join Us page or contact your county sheriff's office to determine if there is a mounted search and rescue unit in your vicinity. You are required to have access to a qualified horse and transportation for yourself and your horse 24 hours a day, 7days a week.

What is a Qualified Horse?
A search and rescue mount, be it horse or mule, must be sound and kept in good condition. A SAR horse should be mature - no younger than 7 years. A horse with a calm, alert disposition is preferrable.

History of Our Unit

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