Must-Have Items for Search and Rescue Volunteer Packs

Items for Search and Rescue Volunteer Packs

Search and rescue volunteers are the backbone of several communities. From helping people locate a missing child to providing assitance in times of disaster, SAR volunteers do important, life-saving work. As such, it is equally important for communities and organizations to invest in their training and make sure they are equipped with the best gear. So what are some must-have items that SAR volunteers should have in their packs?


Having a reliable light source is extremely important for search and rescue volunteers. They may often find themselves in dark, open spaces where clarity of vision is absolutely critical. Tactical flashlights are an important pack item. These heavy-duty lights come with high lumen output and have several other features that can prove to be useful in an emergency situation. The best tactical flashlights also feature a steel strike bezel which can come in handy to break throgh glass. In addition, a flashing mode is also important for SAR volunteers so they can signal to their team members if needed.

Comfortable Boots

There is really no telling what kind of environment search and rescue volunteers may find themselves in. A pair of sturdy leather hiking boots will go a long way in meeting the demands of their work environment. Steel-toed boots are another style which is highly recommended since they can prevent you from being injured in a challenging environment. The most important thing to look for is comfort. Your feet will be doing a lot of work, so no matter which boot you go for, they should fit well. Chances are, as you progress through your SAR career, you will end up with a few pairs that match different environments and requirements.

Multipurpose Tool

A multipurpose tool is another must-have for search and rescue kits. You will want something that you can use to make minor repairs to your gear, cut different objects, or use as a tool to make a forced entry. Your multipurpose tool should be made of a strong material like heat-treated alloy.

Proper Clothing

While on the job, you will be required to wear weatherproof clothing made of material like Gortex. This will ensure that you remain protected from the elements while you are heading out for an operation or while conducting an operation. In addition, it is a good idea to pack spare clothing in your search and rescue kit. You can expect your work clothes to get muddy, dirty, and stained, so you will appreciate having extra clean clothes to wear on your trip back home.

Fire Lighting Items

These are small, so you may forget about them but fire lighting items are extremely essential to have you on. From lighting a fire to keep warm to cooking an emergency meal to warding off wild animals to sending out a signal, a fire can serve many life-saving purposes. So it’s important you carry fire starters and fire lighting equipment such as a matchbox or lighter with you on your operations.

First Aid

You should be equipped to administer basic first aid to anyone on the field. Carrying a well-equipped, efficient first aid kit is absolutely essential for search and rescue volunteers. Many organizations that you volunteer with will ask you to carry mandatory items. You will also receive training in administering first aid to others. Your first aid kit should include items such as at least two pairs of latex gloves, a pair of scissors, sewing needle and thread, oral rehydration solution, and more. As you can see, a first aid kit for search and rescue volunteers needs to be much more extensive than one you’d take on a hike.

Search and rescue volunteer teams perform integral duties and are often called upon to help in all kinds of emergencies. Keeping these items in your SAR kit will help you remain as safe as possible when you go out to help others.