Search & Rescue

Search and Rescue team with helicopter

Contact & Application Information

If you meet the minimum requirements for the team and are interested in learning more or about joining the Napa County Sheriff’s Volunteer Search and Rescue Team, please email the team at: [email protected]. You may also visit the Napa Search and Rescue website.

Division Details

Administered by the Napa County Sheriff’s Department, the Napa County Search and Rescue Team was formed in 1992 to provide search and rescue services for Napa County, and surrounding Bay Area Counties.  The team is on-call 24 hours a day and is ready for both urban or wilderness searches.

Napa County Search and Rescue is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization overseen by liaison officers assigned by the Napa County Sheriff’s Department.


The SAR Team has 45 volunteers with various expertise in search and rescue skills including ground tracking, emergency medicine, rope rescue, ATV, helicopter operation and search management.


All search and rescue members must maintain a level of proficiency in a number of search and rescue skills. These include tracking, orienteering, first aid, wilderness survival, and victim rescue and transport. The team trains together twice per month in the classroom and in the field. Regular training helps us to develop trust and teamwork needed on difficult and extended missions. Training is provided by local experts and by attending regional SAR training conferences. All members are required to complete basic first aid training and must meet SARTECH II/III requirements. Most have spent years as sportsmen and backcountry enthusiasts. We all share a strong desire to help others in times of need and are dedicated to our cause.

Specialty Teams:

Ground units

Three or more foot searchers are dispatched from the command post, each unit with a radio and their 24-hour pack. These teams are given maps of the area, an assignment, and a briefing regarding the subject. They search their assigned areas conducting voice calls for the subject, looking for tracks and other clues. These teams can expect to either stay in the field for extended periods, or go through several shorter assignments.


Napa SAR Team has over 15 Advanced Trackers. The average person leaves 2,500 "clues" per mile they walk. The advanced trackers are trained to see these clues and determine a direction of travel and to help guide search teams to where the missing person might be. The team is fortunate enough to train with some true professionals in this skill who have been tracking and training Border Patrol, Army Special Forces and DOJ for over 40 years.

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

Napa SAR team has four ATVs, one UTV and one ATV patient trailer. They specialize in containment of a search area, team transport, radio relay, and off-camber terrain. They are available to transport rescue equipment to teams in the field, assist with patient transport out of the field and other logistical needs during a search operation.

Search Dogs

Search Dogs are utilized, and are either bloodhounds or air-scent dogs. These dogs have extensive training before they are certified to be used by OES. Bloodhounds look for a particular person, using a piece of clothing known to have been worn by the subject. An air-scent dog will locate anybody in a certain area, they are good for clearing large areas. These teams consist of the dog handler, the dog, and one or more search team members.