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San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

The Bear Valley Search & Rescue Team is comprised of 26 dedicated men and women, who quickly respond to distress calls.

Rescue missions are usually in the San Bernardino Mountain wilderness, at any time of day or night, in any kind of weather, to search for lost hikers, skiers, stranded travelers or downed aircraft.

The team focuses on protecting Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City, Fawnskin and the other communities that make up the Big Bear Valley area, and also assist in all areas of San Bernadino County. They have also assisted in missions in other counties including San Diego, Riverside, Inyo and Kern.

The Search & Rescue Training includes:

  • Snowmobile & SnowCat
  • Mantracking
  • Helitac (helicopter training)
  • First-Aid, CPR
  • Physical Conditioning
  • GPS and Map & Compass skills
  • Overnight 'bivys' and shelters (summer and winter)
  • Ice Ax Arresting & Winter Survival
  • Vertical skills, rope work including ascending and belaying.
  • and much more...
The extensive instruction is required of all new recruits previous to joining the team, as well as attending the monthly meetings.

Each member is responsible to acquire and maintain his or her own rescue equipment including backpacks, sleeping bags, First-Aid kits, rope and rescue gear. This 24-hour pack can weight from 25 to 65 lbs (summer pack is lighter)and is an initial investment of each team member. When the call goes out for a search, they "do not leave home without it."

The Big Bear Team is a volunteer organization, it relies on donations to acquire equipment such as snowmobiles, quads, GPS'S litters, and ELT's for locating downed aircraft. It is necessary to have occasional fundraisers to purchase new vehicles and equipment. The 'always ready' to respond and its strong commitment has earned the Bear Valley Search & Rescue Team its excellent status known throughout Southern California.

So that others may live

Why become involved with Search and Rescus (SAR)

  • SAR members join to help their community, they know if it were someone they loved, lost out there with weather approaching fast they would want the best possible teams to find them.
  • Flexible hours -4am call outs, 6am call outs, midnight, noon, etc.
  • No Gym membership needed -plenty of good excersize hiking, climbing, etc.
  • Travel -We explore anywhere the subjects get lost, beautiful mountains, deserts, valleys, steams, etc.
  • Family -We train together, search together, and have fun in the off times. You are never alone, we got your back.
  • Flexible - It does not matter if you are an eagle scout, climbed K2 blindfolded, or an office manager, graphic designer. We are a team, all the skills you will need will be taught to you, and you can bring your extra skills as a bonus.

What if a 35lbs pack is too much for me?

  • Not everyone can physically do what a SAR member can do. Trudging through the snow, ice, mud and sand through brush and poison ivy might not be your cup of tea. However if you wish to help, there are many other ways to help.
  • Search and Rescue has many fundraisers to buy team equipment to aid in the rescues, like pizza night. Who doens't know someone who likes pizza?