Volunteer program offers opportunities

Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

Teenagers or adults looking for a little adventure and a way to help other people may just find the ticket with a search and rescue volunteer program.

Pierce County Explorer Search and Rescue is recruiting adults and kids over 14 years old who have completed eighth grade to join a premier volunteer organization.

The organization has assisted in numerous search and rescue missions and has worked with the Department of Emergency Management on many projects including the installation of the Mount Rainier Lahar Warning System.

"It's an outstanding program," said Jody Woodcock, Pierce County emergency management spokeswoman. "It's purely volunteer. We don't pull them out of school. It is mostly on the weekend or when available."

This group responds to search missions or disaster relief operations. Members may also be requested to search for evidence at crime scenes or assist in sandbagging during flooding. The unit responds to emergency situations three or four times a month.

Volunteers undergo six weekends of hands-on training that includes search and rescue techniques, survival skills, helicopter operations, first aid, map reading and compass instruction.

"These kids are amazing," Woodcock said. "At any time we can get a call a kid is lost. They will report and they're responsible for searching an area. It's great training. They work as a team and for many of the kids it gives them a sample of public safety and forestry before they start college."

Pierce County ESAR is considered one of the best search and rescue organizations in the nation.

Orientation meetings are offered throughout the county at various times over the next three months. Registration is not required.

For more information call the ESAR phone line at 253-752- 3727 or visit their Web site at

Pierce County ESAR orientation schedule 2004

All meetings are from 7 to 8:15 p.m.

€ Sept. 14, Parkland Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S.

€ Sept. 21, Bonney Lake Library, 18501 90th E.

€ Sept. 28, Graham Library, 9202 224th E.

€ Oct. 5, Summit Library, 5107 112th E.

€ Oct. 12, Parkland Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S.

€ Oct. 19, Lakewood Library, 6300 Wildaire Rd. SW

€ Oct. 27, South Hill Library, 15420 Meridian E.

€ Nov. 2, Sumner Library, 1116 Fryar Ave.

€ Nov. 9, University Place Library, 3605 Bridgeport Way W.

€ Nov. 16, Graham Library, 9202 224th E.

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