Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit is an organization of volunteers who come from many different walks of life. Our mission statement declares, we are “A volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue, and mountain safety education.” Fulfilling this mission requires all members to work as part of a team and dedicate themselves to many hours and weekends of training and preparedness. We meet and execute each assignment we are called to assist with and do so with team safety as our top priority. Weeks and even months can pass without a mission call-out but training is constant. High levels of individual skills are not sufficient if the individual has not trained regularly with the team.
When we are called to assist in any search or rescue, we respond as a unit and arrive as a professional, well-trained, and self-supported team. If you have skills that you are willing to share and enhance in a team environment, and would also be willing to learn and use new skills in a team setting, we would encourage you to continue reading to see if we might be a fit for you and if you might be a fit for us.
Your Commitment as a Volunteer:
Time/Training Requirements – Participation in IMSARU means attending meetings and field training events. We hold four evening meetings (General, Training, Medical, Business) and one field training day/weekend each month, year-round (with a few exceptions). While no one can attend every meeting and training, there are minimum training proficiency standards for active members. Missions tend to happen around weekends, and late at night, 365 days a year. On average, IMSARU responds to 20-30 calls per year. Missions may last hours or days, and often response is cancelled before we leave town. There will be a significant amount of time invested by you in training and other activities. While life often changes, we are looking for members who intend to be active and stay active in our organization for several years. Before you apply, think about arrangements you might need to make in order to respond to a mission call-out: things like work responsibilities, what you will do with your pets on short notice, family obligations and many more issues you would need to have plans for in order to respond on short notice.
Once in the unit, members have the opportunity to advance through different levels of certification. These are achieved through time, skill set, participation in trainings and missions, and helping or leading safety education presentations and other IMSARU projects. Some certifications also have individual and/or unit testing requirements. IMSARU is not a licensed EMS agency; however, members are expected to be able to provide basic medical care. Each member is required to obtain and maintain first aid and CPR certifications. In addition to general unit activities, we also have specialty teams for K-9, technical rescue, mantracking and mountain biking. These activities are in addition to basic unit activities and will also have higher demands of time and financial commitments. We also have opportunities in operations and logistics for members who may not want to go into the field but can provide missions support.
IMSARU can also use help with in-town chores such as maintenance, safety education, public relations, fundraising, etc. All of these are important although less publicized than missions. The vast majority of our missions are in the backcountry. This could mean anything from the Boise foothills to deep in the Sawtooth Range. Our work is often done in the extreme hot or cold, in the rain or snow, and in hazardous places. Active field members must be able to carry heavy packs and/or a litter in steep, rough terrain, possibly for hours at a time. They must be able to survive AND function efficiently in any Idaho weather at any time of the year. IMSARU also has outlets for volunteers less interested in backcountry foot travel, but able to help with vehicle searches on backcountry roads or command post support work.
As people become involved in IMSARU, they find that they need a considerable amount of backcountry gear. This is expensive stuff. Since their lives may depend on it, members tend to try to obtain the best equipment available. Gas, food and other consumables, as well as wear and tear on personal vehicles, are also costs to the member.
We take great pride in the resources, knowledge, and experience we bring as a team to the situations we are called to assist with. If you see yourself as a potential member of the team, we would like you to visit one of our new member information sessions. In the meantime, we encourage you to attend our meetings, get to know our members, and find out about new member information session dates. Meetings are held every Tuesday at 7PM at the IMSARU Compound (2519 Federal Way, Boise), and are open to the public.