Founded in 1986, West Valley Search and Rescue (West Valley SAR) is a non-profit, all volunteer search and rescue team dedicated to saving lives by providing search and rescue operations and wilderness safety education to the citizens of San Bernardino County. As a fully-accredited member of the Mountain Rescue Association, the team also responds to emergencies throughout California and the United States. It is not unusual for us to called upon to assist our neighbors in San Diego and Riverside Counties, or to respond to a state-wide call for help that can bring us as far north as the Yosemite area, or as far south as the Mexican border.
In the course of a typical year, West Valley SAR responds to over 50 rescue missions, and its members contribute over 20,000 hours (500+ hours per member) of their personal time towards missions, trainings, public education and meetings. Whether it be the summit of Mount Baldy (10,064 feet), the hills of the front country, the desert or the urban environment, West Valley SAR responds to help those in need - at any time, in any weather, and for as long as it takes.
We Are an All-Volunteer Team. West Valley Search and Rescue team consists of approximately 30 highly trained volunteers skilled in search and rescue operations including technical rope rescue, alpine travel, search theory, man-tracking, avalanche rescue and wilderness emergency medicine. Our volunteers provide their own personal gear and donate their time to save lives and serve the community. They come from many professions, and include teachers, lawyers, engineers, police officers, fire fighters, and business owners, just to name a few.
We rely almost entirely on private donations and member dues to fund our equipment purchases, training expenses and the costs of our public education program. Nearly all of West Valley Search and Rescue's equipment, training and public education costs are funded from private donations. With the support of local communities and team members themselves, West Valley Search and Rescue has been able to maintain the training, equipment and vehicles necessary to accomplish its mission.
Our primary area of responsibility is the westernmost portion of San Bernardino County, including a large part of the San Bernardino County mountains. This area encompasses approximately 625 square miles (over half the size of Rhode Island), and contains terrain ranging from the low desert to steep mountain slopes. Due to the vast and varied terrain in our response area, we are fully equipped and trained to respond to search and rescue efforts in mountain, urban and desert areas.
Typically, we are called upon to search for and rescue lost or injured hikers. The team also assists local police and fire agencies with wildfire evacuations, evidence searches, body recoveries, disaster relief and to help locate and rescue passengers of aircraft downed in wilderness areas.