Whatcom County Search and Rescue Council

Six distinct units, made up of over 200 volunteers, operate under the umbrella of the Whatcom County Search and Rescue Council. Those units have a range of specialties that include traditional foot search, mobile emergency transport, snowmobile, dive, technical rope and swiftwater rescue.

Common duties of Search and Rescue members include traditional search in wilderness and urban environments, wilderness body recovery, wilderness first aid and pack-out of injured hikers and hunters, urban searches for lost children or dementia patients, evidence search and scene safety. In addition to the traditional search and rescue and recovery activities, SAR has played a key role in past years during events that include flood rescue, delivery of PPE and food during the pandemic shutdown, severe weather transportation assistance for critical emergency and hospital staff, as well as patients needing life sustaining treatment, and condition monitoring and situation reports during extreme weather events. SAR also provides safety patrols for events like Ski to Sea and the Lake Whatcom Classic, as well as wilderness safety education to schools and other organizations.

WCSAR is a 501(c)3 organization and 100% funded by volunteers and donations from the community.

SAR in the News New Building Info

Mission Statement

Whatcom County Search & Rescue Council (WCSAR) is committed to maintaining a constant state of readiness for search, rescue, recovery and incident response, while also promoting safety and outdoor education. WCSAR shall work in affiliation with state and local emergency management agencies utilizing the principles of the Incident Command System (ICS). WCSAR shall be comprised of a network of local SAR units comprised of trained and certified individual volunteers. In addition, the unit shall be a non-profit organization that is non-political, and non-partisan in character. WCSAR does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.



Specializing in:

  • Transportation of search and rescue teams
  • Transport, situation assessment and rescue during extreme weather events.
  • Transport, situation assessment and rescue during disasters.
  • Equipment transport
  • Vehicle recovery
  • Wilderness / Urban searches
  • Evacuations


  • Winches and winch accessories
  • Radios
  • APRS Tracking
  • Chainsaw
  • On sight lighting
  • Commercial generators

Summit to Sound: Ground Search & Specialized Teams


Specializing in:

  • Ground search
  • Evidence search
  • Evacuations
  • Sandbagging
  • K-9 team (land and water), human remains detection
  • Equine team
  • Swift water/Flood rescue
  • Medical (affiliated member of EMS Council)
  • Wilderness and rural and urban SAR
  • Patient packout


  • Boat (river & lake operations)
  • ​Throw Bags
  • Patient packaging
  • Rope rigging
  • Radios
  • ATV
  • Equines
  • K9

Affiliated member of the EMS Council

Bellingham Mountain Rescue

Technical Rescue bellinghammountainrescue.com

Specializing in:

  • Technical rope rescue / recovery
  • Glacier rope rescue / recovery
  • Back country rescue / recovery
  • Wilderness SAR
  • Medical (affiliated member of EMS Council)


  • Rope rigging

Whatcom Emergency Communications Group (WECG)

Emergency & Disaster Communications wecg.org

Specializing in:

County wide emergency radio communications in times of disaster or loss of conventional media.
Communication amateur radio license training for interested parties.


  • Communications (amateur and commercial)
  • Digital communications


  • Complete communications facility
  • Radios
  • Communications Van

Whatcom County Dive Rescue

Underwater Rescue

Specializing in:

  • Fresh and salt water diving
  • Underwater search and recovery
  • Underwater investigation
  • Underwater evidence search


  • Dive gear
  • Boats
  • Underwater communications
  • Underwater photography

Whatcom County Snowmobile

Specialized Snow Transport & Search

Specializing in:

  • Transportation of personnel and equipment
  • Avalanche searches
  • Patient packaging and transport


  • Personal survival gear
  • Snowmobiles
  • Other snow related equipment

Council EquipmenT

We have specialized equipment and skills within the Search and Rescue organization. We have listed just a few.

  • Base Management
  • Scene Security
  • Remote Scene Access
  • Communications
  • Crowd Management
  • Situation Assessments and access routing (aka windshield survey)
  • ​Man tracking
  • Medical support/Triage and subject care​ (First Aid, EMT, Dr, Nurses)
  • Radio relay
  • Recovery of subjects
  • Sandbagging
  • Road, urban, trail, & wilderness searching
  • Dogs (Air scent, trailing and HRD)
  • Disaster zone search
  • Transport of people and equipment during search activities, disaster events, and/or severe weather
  • Vehicle recovery
  • Water rescue

How we help the community:

  • Search for missing persons (Hikers, Hunters, Children, Elderly, etc).
  • Rescue of stranded people
  • Emergency transport in severe weather 
  • Support during disasters
  • Safety Education

How we help other agencies:

  • Provide additional man power
  • Provide a wide range of communications
  • Assist with scene preservation
  • Provide area containment
  • Provide & operate equipment for a variety of situations on land or water
  • Support evidence and missing persons search


Whatcom County Search and Rescue Council, its units and volunteers are on call 24/7. If there is an emergency, call 911. If someone is lost, please don’t
wait to call for help. Time is of the essence. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding joining, our capabilities, donating, or any other non-emergency questions. Someone will get back to you with a response. For more information on how to contact us visit our contact page.

Our building is unstaffed.


Whatcom County Search and Rescue
1041 W Smith Rd, Bellingham WA 98226