Help Save a Life

Our membership is made up of professional men and women like yourself. We have among our membership military personnel, engineers, technical, government personnel as well as professional and volunteer firefighters, managers, laborers, etc. All it takes to be an active member of TSAR is a willingness to help others and a love for the out of doors. When, where and how often you respond is totally up to you.

Tidewater Search and Rescue does not have a K9 component, we provide all other SAR resources types.  If you wish to peruse K9 training, we recommend contacting GARD or K9 Alert.

Are you interested in joining Tidewater Search and Rescue?

Do you think this may be the type of organization you can commit to? The following are some considerations that may help you decide if TSAR is right for you.

We are a volunteer organization. That means there is no payment for what you do. Your commitment to the Team will involve some out-of-pocket expenses for required equipment, some training, meetings, community awareness events, fundraisers and missions. If you cannot do so then you cannot be a qualified member.

We are professionals. TSAR members are of high moral character and are held to high standards of professionalism and service. We are our own Corporation but work closely with and at the request of other emergency service and law enforcement agencies. No member can use any alcohol or mind altering drugs (whether prescription or recreational) while on official missions, training or meetings. We are in the public eye and must maintain an excellent reputation.

We are a Team. TSAR is not the place for individual egotism or weekend heroes. We operate as a team at all times. A victim’s survival and the safety other team members may very well depend on a unified effort. If you do not work well in groups, you should not join TSAR.

We do not work for fame or recognition. There is rarely any glory associated with missions and even rescued people may not acknowledge the Team’s efforts. A member’s main reward is often just the satisfaction of having practiced his or her own skills and having participated in an effort to help someone. Your commitment should be to finding and aiding those in need rather than for the recognition it may give you in the eyes of your family, friends or the public.

We know our limitations. Some people who wish to join TSAR are young and macho and think they are capable of making wise judgments and overcoming any and all physical challenges in the field. There are also those who remember younger times when they were in prime physical condition and, despite evidence to the contrary, believe they are still in shape. However, both bravado and nostalgia can be dangerous or even fatal if you are not in the proper condition for a strenuous field mission. TSAR members must realistically assess their level of fitness and adjust their participation accordingly. There is just as much work in supporting a field team (base operations, radio communications, logistics, etc.) as there is for those out in the field, so know what your capabilities are and capitalize on your strengths.

We deal realistically with unpleasant situations. TSAR may get called on to recover dead bodies that may be mutilated from plane crashes, and falls in rough terrain, or drowned and bloated or in similar distasteful condition. Handling corpses in various states of decomposition or dismemberment may not be something you’re prepared to deal with. Team members have the option not to participate in body recoveries and you need to assess whether you are mentally and emotionally prepared to do so. Know your limitations in all areas and be realistic and honest about them.

We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TSAR members are accessible at all times and are required to respond to a minimum of 25% of all missions and call-outs. These quite often come in the middle of the night and on weekends, when people are most likely to be declared lost or injured. They are also common in foul weather. TSAR is not a fair-weather organization or we only walk on trails; we volunteer to go on missions in the most adverse conditions and at the most inopportune times because we know someone’s life may depend on that level of commitment.

We are committed to our goals, in spite of difficult circumstances. Being a Team member is not always fun and exciting. We may go for months without a mission call-out, or get called out only to arrive in time to see the victim walk out on his own or through someone else’s help. This can be frustrating. We also hold meetings and in-house training every month. Although this may seem boring or mundane, it becomes very apparent how important this training is when you need to put those skills to use during a mission. In addition, a team by definition is composed of many unique individuals, each with unique and often different personality traits and opinions, the challenge is to keep the Teams goals in mind and not get sidetracked with petty differences. Your ability to work under various difficult circumstances is directly proportional to your level of commitment.

We are responsible for ourselves. Although TSAR members are covered during official missions and approved training by Worker’s Compensation insurance, we are also covered during unofficial training, miscellaneous team events or group outings. We must be responsible for our own actions and safety. We take individual responsibility for our own well-being and look out for our teammates as well. However, we do not blame anyone else if our lack of physical or mental capabilities results in any personal injury or loss.

WE ARE COMMITTED. If you have read and understand all of the above and still think that you would like to join TSAR, then you’re the type of person we’re looking for! You could become one of the Team members who are dedicated to what we do and who are committed to making this Team one of the finest in Virginia. Please talk with one of the members of the Board of Directors about filling out an application for membership in Tidewater Search and Rescue.


You don’t have to be great to start but you do have to start to be great” Zig Ziglar

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