Frequently asked questions


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Do I have to pay for search & rescue?

No, citizens will never pay a fee to activate search & rescue teams.  It works the same as calling the police.  Donations are appreciated, but payment is never a necessity.  

Can I personally request search & rescue to perform a search for someone, something, or an animal/pet who's missing?

No, search & rescue teams operate much like a business whose only customer is the Flathead County Sheriff's Office.  Flathead & North Valley will only deploy at the request of the sheriff's office once a call has been made to 911 or through a mutual aid request.

I work a full-time job, can I still volunteer with SAR?

Yes, most members work full-time day jobs and respond to calls as they are able.  A good percentage of calls occur during the evenings and weekends anyway.

Can I request medically trained search & rescue personnel to staff an event?

Yes, requests must be made individually to each respective agency's board and membership.  Depending on your area, you may prefer one agency over the other.  Please see the Contact Us information.

If I have a dog, will search & rescue train it?

Typically, it's best to become a member of one of the county's SAR agencies, learn about SAR as a whole first, and how K9 units function within it.  From there you are encouraged to attend K9 training and find out if it's a good fit for you and your dog.  Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to train and equip dogs en masse.  The K9 training and certification process is more lengthy and strenuous than many people realize.  ​

If I join one of the SAR agencies, will I be required to perform unpleasant tasks i.e. decedent recoveries, lengthy missions, and various other unpleasant things?  

Maybe.  On one hand, we do not push people outside their respective comfort zones and encourage them to be cross-trained in and comfortable in most situations they encounter, but we simply cannot control all circumstances that influence a mission.

Can I request search & rescue personnel to give a presentation at my organization or school?

Yes, search & rescue members love what they do and love the opportunity to share with others all the different facets of search & rescue.  Please see the Contact Us information.

Does either search & rescue agency solicit donations over the phone?

No, neither agency solicits donations over the phone.  We aren't that ambitious.  If someone calls and asks for donations using our agency names, call the
Flathead County Sheriff's Office and report it.  It is fraud.

Do you exchange patches and stickers?

At this time we do not exchange patches and stickers with other agencies or persons.