To report an emergency or request search and rescue, contact your local sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch or call 911

A volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives through search, rescue, and mountain safety education


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Below is a list of our frequently asked questions. Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to our contact page:

Mission Response

Idaho code 31-2229 states in part; “The sheriff of each county shall be the official responsible for command of all search and rescue operations within the county…”

In almost all cases the authority with jurisdiction over SAR incidents in Idaho is the local sheriff’s office or police department. 

All missing or overdue person cases should be treated as an emergency until proven otherwise. Please call 911 or contact your local county sheriff’s office to report this situation. 

We are only able to deploy with an official request from a government agency. If you are a representative of an agency click here.

No. We are an independent SAR team that can deploy at the request of any official government agency. 

IMSARU is not a licensed EMS agency. Our members are trained in CPR and basic first aid and further medical care is provided to our subjects by local air and ground ambulance services if needed. 

All requests for an IMSARU response  must come from an official agency. In some cases IMSARU will consider a response for other incidents that do not involve missing or stranded persons, but all such requests must be made through local law enforcement. 


Yes. At this time we do not have a lateral transfer/membership process. 

We typically open applications twice per year (spring and fall). Check our Join IMSARU page for the latest info and to sign up for updates when we begin the next application process. 

Unfortunately, no. All new members must go through the normal application process. 

Each application process is based on the current needs of the unit. Typically 30-40 applicants will move through the selection process, and 15-20 will be invited to attend the SAR Academy and become members of IMSARU. 

Yes! Members of the public are always invited to attend our regular Tuesday meetings that take place at our compound every Tuesday at 7pm. 

Specialty Teams

The entry level requirements vary among the specialty teams, however all specialty team members must be regular members of IMSARU in good standing and must maintain regular attendance of general unit events. The first step in joining a specialty team is to become a regular member of IMSARU

Training a K9 for SAR work requires a significant investment of time and money. It is highly recommended to affiliate with a SAR team and begin learning the particulars of Search and Rescue prior to beginning any training with your K9. All IMSARU K9 handlers are required to be regular unit members in good standing, so the first step in becoming a handler for our team is to join IMSARU

The Technical Rescue Team is accredited and undergoes a certification test by the Mountain Rescue Association every two years.  

The K9 Team is credentialed through several national and regional agencies, including the National Search Dog Alliance.

The Tracking Team is credentialed through Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services.

All Remote Pilot Team Members must obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot License through the Federal Aviation Administration

The Mountain Bike Team and Off Highway Vehicle Team have developed their own in-house credentialing process for their team members. 

All of our K9s are owned and furnished by their handlers, therefore IMSARU is not able to accept or adopt dogs. 


Yes, donations can be earmarked for specialty teams and in some cases specific projects. Please contact us for more information. 

In some cases we are able to accept direct donations of goods and services. Please contact us for more details prior to initiating such donations. 

Yes! IMSARU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible.

In many cases yes, we rely on fundraising and donations to support our operations. Please contact us with any specific proposals.

We are unable to allow members of the public to participate in mission responses. 

In some cases we have the ability to facilitate support  projects for volunteer groups or corporations. Please contact us for more information. 

Agency Representatives

No! Our services are paid for by fundraising events, donations, and grants. We NEVER charge for a mission response and we do not want cost to be a barrier to initiating a SAR response.

Our primary service area is southwest Idaho and Eastern Oregon. We can often deploy farther if requested. 

We are available 24/7/365 and will deploy anytime we have an official request and our services can provide value to the community.

Many missing person incidents are resolved easily in a short period of time, however a delay in requesting resources can have a detrimental impact on the outcome of a search and a missing subject’s survivability. 

We recommend all missing person incidents be treated as emergencies until proven otherwise, and we welcome official agencies to activate IMSARU as early as they deem appropriate. 

If an incident is unable to be resolved with basic investigation tasks in a short period of time, we recommend launching a formal search effort. That is typically the time that an established SAR team such as IMSARU can provide value.

Yes! Despite our name being “mountain” we are trained and equipped to search for missing individuals in urban environments as well.

Yes! As long as you are an official representative of a government agency, we are happy to deploy only a specific resource or assist with a specific aspect of an incident response. Even if we are unable to provide a resource we can usually point you in the right direction. Please follow the process for activating IMSARU to get started.

Yes! Our SAR Managers are trained in Lost Person Behavior, Search Theory, and Search Planning and Mapping. We also maintain contact lists of additional local and national SAR resources.  

We are happy to assist agencies with planning, mapping, coordinating resources, or just a consultation on any active search incidents within their jurisdiction.

IMSARU is happy to offer training classes to law enforcement and other first responder agencies. Common classes include Navigation, Swift Water Awareness, Winter Preparedness, Snow and Avalanche Safety, Mapping, ICS and Command Structure, Lost Person Behavior, and Search Planning. Contact us for more information.