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SAR Division Membership Information

EMA SealThe McLean County Emergency Management Agency is looking for individuals interested in search and rescue to join the SAR Division. This division of the agency, which is solely comprised of volunteers, offers opportunities to work in conjunction with other public safety professionals by providing comprehensive search and rescue services for lost or missing persons.

Search and Rescue missions occur at any time and are often long-duration events occurring in harsh, hazardous conditions. Many search missions take place outside of McLean County through mutual aid requests and require additional travel time. Monthly training typically lasts between 2-5 hours and mirrors the environment and situations faced during real-world missions. Ground Search and Rescue Team members should expect a minimum average commitment of seven hours per month while K-9 Operations Team members can anticipate a minimum average commitment of 20-30 hours per month.

Qualified applicants will be those with a serious desire to provide search and rescue services while continuing to learn the aspects of the discipline and applying them in a professional manner with the McLean County EMA. Prior experience in public safety disciplines such as law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, or honorable service in the United States Armed Forces will make applicants highly competitive. Additionally, applicants with at least a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) or those pursuing such a degree are also highly competitive.

The Search and Rescue Division consists of two teams: The Ground Search and Rescue Team and the K-9 Operations Team. Both teams train on the fourth Saturday of each month with the exception of November and December.

New staff begin their service as a probationary member and are required to complete a mandatory set of training and demonstrate sustained proficiency before being promoted to either a K-9 Handler or a Searcher. Specific information for the Probation and Field Training Programs in the Search and Rescue Division can be accessed using the link in the Membership Information section below.

Search and Rescue Division Membership Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of submitting application
  • Hold a valid Illinois driver’s license (driving record will be thoroughly reviewed as part of the applicant’s background check)
  • Have no felony charges or convictions or specific misdemeanor convictions
  • Be able to perform the essential functions of the Search and Rescue Division with or without a reasonable accommodation

Membership Information

To begin the membership process for either the K-9 Operations Team or the Ground Search and Rescue Team, contact:

If you have questions about the Search and Rescue Division or one of the teams within the division, contact:

The McLean County EMA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, or disability.