Bringing loved ones to their families is our passion.

Among the oldest, largest, and most-active volunteer search and rescue teams in the United States.






More than 200 times each year, the citizen first responders of King County Search and Rescue are called to provide essential emergency services. Missions range from backcountry technical rescues to urban searches for a missing person with dementia to community aid during natural disasters. Nine specialized units with six hundred members (registered Washington State emergency workers) train and stay ready to respond when called. Combined, they dedicate more than 49,000 hours to mission response and training each year. The King County SAR teams deliver an estimated $8 Million in public safety value to Washington State each year.

Our volunteers reunite families and save lives


We do much more than find lost hikers

Wilderness Rescues

Urban Missing Persons

Police Evidence Searches

Disaster Response


Safety Education

Our units are deployed by the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Our volunteers are registered Emergency Workers with the Washington State Department of Emergency Management.

Specialized Units Working Together

Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is a highly versatile team that serves as King County's primary ground search and rescue unit.  ESAR is the largest of King County's SAR units and it maintains an advanced technical rescue team, a group of nationally and state-certified EMTs (emergency medical technicians), and it supports a robust youth development program.
King County 4X4 Search & Rescue's primary mission is to provide transportation to other search and rescue organizations by using all-wheel drive vehicles to negotiate terrain that conventional vehicles cannot. This unit is also equipped to conduct night road searches, traffic control, radio relay and other logistical support functions.
Seattle Mountain Rescue (SMR) is a volunteer organization of mountain climbers dedicated to saving lives through back-country search and rescue and mountain safety education. The organization is a primary first responder for all-season search, rescue, and recovery operations in mountainous and hazardous terrain throughout the State of Washington. We specialize in high angle and high hazard operations.
King County Incident Support Team (IST) provides Incident Command System expertise for incident management, planning, logistics, administration, and communications at search and rescue missions and large scale special events in King County. Because our training is of an all-hazards nature, we maintain capability to support other types of incidents if deployed.
King County Search Dogs (KCSD) is the largest volunteer K9 search unit in Washington. Dog-handler teams train to national standards in Airscent (finding any human in a large area) and Trailing (following the path of a specific person) and participate in missions throughout the State. Many teams have additional specialized skills in Human Remains Detection, Water, Evidence, Avalanche and Disaster searching.
Northwest Horseback Search and Rescue (NWHSAR) members are qualified horse owners who volunteer their time as a horse-and-rider team to aid in the search for lost, injured, or missing people. Teams also assist in transporting equipment, such as medical supplies, litters, and radios. Volunteers are equipped to transport people to safety either by litter or on horseback.
Ski Patrol Rescue Team (SPART) provides emergency medical/trauma care in wilderness environments year round to the citizens of King County. This work includes getting to people in need in mountain areas and in avalanches, and administering medical care. SPART supports King County Search and Rescue by maintaining two equipment caches stocked with safety and rescue gear.
Pacific Northwest Trackers Association is dedicated to using tracking skills for search and rescue. We participate in lost person and evidence searches, and we have developed a training program to teach tracking skills to other interested groups.
Regional Special Vehicle Unit (RSVU) specializes in mobile search and rescue operations in terrain that would not be passable by conventional vehicles. With roots in mobile, mountain and ground searches, RSVU has a team of rescuers, communications, and wilderness specialists who assist in active rescue, search and/or recovery missions.

Each unit within the King County Search and Rescue Association is a separate 501c3 nonprofit organization.

We Never Charge for Our Services







Donations are essential for continuing our life saving mission.

When the community needs help, our volunteers are the first to answer the call