Search and Rescue


The El Dorado County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit provides a wide range of rescue services to the residents and visitors of El Dorado County.

The mission of the Search and Rescue Unit is to:

  • Provide emergency services to citizens and visitors who are lost, stranded or injured.
  • Provide services necessary to rescue such persons and provide them appropriate medical care.
  • Handle all search and rescue operations in a professional manner.

Our mission of saving lives is accomplished through the support of highly trained volunteers and sworn Deputy Sheriff's. The Sheriff’s Office coordinates the Search and Rescue Team's training and missions. However, it's the teamwork and participation of dedicated volunteers that have created such a highly effective, professional and respected Search and Rescue Team.

Currently on the west slope of the county SAR teams normally operate in the areas east of the Sacramento County line to Strawberry, and north of the Amador County line to the Placer County line which totals approximately 1,400 square miles.  The Tahoe Office serves the east slope of the county from Strawberry east to the Nevada State line, encompassing approximately 300 square miles.

Currently there are over 150 volunteers that make up the following teams:  image of Search and Rescue in the snow

  • Technical Rope Rescue Team
  • Swift Water Team
  • Ground Search Team
  • Mounted Search Team
  • Canine Search Team
  • Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Team
  • Tahoe Search Team
  • Management Team
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Team 

All volunteer personnel are required to pass a variety of tests to become a team member. Such tests include FIRST AID, CPR, MAP AND COMPASS READING. Specialized Units require proficiency in CLIFF RESCUE/ROCK CLIMBING and SWIFT WATER RESCUE.  All volunteers will be afforded the opportunities to attend these trainings free of charge to learn the skills necessary.  Volunteers will also be able to attend an academy which is held bi-annually to learn the basic concepts of search and rescue.  Along with having special skills, the SAR volunteers are required to participate in monthly training and are always subject to callouts, often in times of darkness or during extreme weather conditions.

Examples of typical rescue missions handled by the Units are: 

  • Search for lost/injured skiers both at resorts and back country.
  • Respond to plane crashes in wilderness or in lakes and/or ponds.
  • Injured hikers on several peaks and in Desolation Wilderness
  • Stranded climbers on Lovers Leap
  • River rescues in local streams/rivers
  • Lost hikers on all trails

The Search and Rescue team averages between 100 and 150 missions per year, totaling over 5,000 hours of volunteer time for searches alone.

Teams meet on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM for the Placerville office and on the Third Thursday of the month at 6:00 PM for the Tahoe Office.

For more information on Team meetings and application procedures, please contact: