The King County Search & Rescue Association



The King County Search and Rescue Association (KCSARA) exists to promote cooperation between its 9 Member Units, to represent and be their unified voice and to advocate for matters that affect or require the support of multiple Units. KCSARA became operational on February 1, 1965 as a 501c non-profit, volunteer group.


To empower SAR Operational Units and their Citizen First Responders.


  • Be a unified voice and advocacy to the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) for Member Units.
  • Provide public relations and promotion of KCSARA and its Member Units, with careful focus on the unique and individual identity of each Unit.
  • Draw on the expertise available within individual Units to develop and maintain training and academies for all required standards along with complementary enrichment curriculum.
  • Track Member Unit compliance with applicable policies and procedures.
  • Develop and manage of an assembly of leaders to discuss and evaluate the ongoing application of Search and Rescue tactics and strategy between Member Units and with external entities.
  • Organize committees and working groups to address matters which are beyond the scope of an individual Unit.
  • Provide administrative support and financial assistance to Member Units so they are able to assist KCSO in the conduct of Search and Rescue operations.

The 9 KCSARA Units

King County Explorer Search & Rescue

Explorer Search & Rescue (ESAR) is a highly versatile team that serves as King Countys 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.

4x4 Search & Rescue

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

Seattle Mountain Rescue

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. SMR specializes in high angle and high hazard operations.

Incident Support Team

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

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.

Ski Patrol Rescue Team

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.

Northwest Horseback Search & Rescue

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.

Regional Special Vehicles Unit

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.

Pacific Northwest Trackers

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.

Mailing Address

King County Search And Rescue Association
PO Box 50721
Bellevue WA 98015-0721

Phone & Email