Training Program

The basic training program consists of four courses scheduled on weekends throughout the winter.  Each of the four courses gives the trainee a new level of qualification and a better understanding of search and rescue. There is a training fee of $115 at registration. Additional equipment may cost hundreds of dollars if you do not already have backpacking gear. Trainees must have all items on the equipment list to attend courses 2, 3, and 4. This equipment is discussed in detail at Course 1.

Course 1

Course 1 serves as an introduction to ESAR.  Scheduled in November, this classroom course teaches the basics of many techniques required for SAR field personnel, including map and compass skills, a basic understanding of search techniques, and the types of equipment necessary for SAR missions.  The course also gives suggestions for purchasing and storing equipment, and teaches our organization's rules and regulations. Course 1 runs approximately 7:00am-4:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

SAR Oriented First Aid

The SAR Oriented first aid course takes place in December and satisfies the wilderness first aid component of our training program. This course includes lectures and hands-on practice with patient assessment and treatment in a wilderness setting and allows trainees to begin to develop their first aid skills while working within a SAR team with SAR equipment.  ESAR members are also required to maintain a current First Aid & CPR card.  This card can be from any agency such as the Red Cross or American Heart Association.  ESAR also offers classes to all membership.

Course 2

Course 2 is a hands-on approach to studying the concepts involved in search and rescue. The weekend begins Friday night, and lasts until early afternoon Sunday. The trainees spend the weekend in teams, living out of their packs, and battling the harsh conditions of January in the Northwest. On Saturday, they rotate around the campground attending a series of stations, each of which focuses on a different skill associated with SAR. Saturday evening trainees break into pairs to complete a number of nighttime compass legs. On Sunday, they continue their stations, and conclude the weekend with a mock search.

Course 3

Course 3 is primarily a test of endurance, but also tests map and compass techniques, motivation, and teamwork. The trainees are paired up and given a list of coordinates.  Their objective is to attend each one of the coordinates in the order given before the weekend is up. Each pair will travel about 15 miles, assuming they choose the most efficient route from point to point. Course 3 usually takes place in February.

Course 4

Course 4 is a mock search. Saturday morning, trainees go to stations where they practice patient assessment, packaging, and search techniques. Saturday afternoon, trainees are assigned to teams, and they complete a search assignment just as if it were an actual search. On Sunday, once all the subjects have been found, treated, and evacuated, the training is over, and the trainees become certified Brushmonkeys.  This course usually takes place in March. 

Winter Training

Winter training provides an opportunity for certified Brushmonkeys to practice traveling and operating in a snow environment. During this overnight course participants snowshoe hike to a location and practice building snow caves that they stay in overnight.


Course 1: Associate Member: May attend evidence searches in Pierce County pending arrival of Emergency Worker card.

Course 2 : Support Member: May attend urban missions in Pierce County.

Course 3 : Conditional Brushmonkey: May attend all missions in Pierce County.

Course 4 : Brushmonkey: May attend all missions.

To review how to plot points with a grid reader:

NIMS.doc26.5 KB
First Aid 2014.pdf1.44 MB
First Aid kit.pdf180.3 KB
Short Report.pdf294.91 KB
AvalanchesandObservationsReferenceFinal2012.pdf116.69 KB
Winter Route Finding Exercises.pdf8.97 KB
Introduction to Winter Training 2018.pdf4.54 MB
Course 1 Equipment 2018.pdf252.47 KB