The Backcountry Unit is a team with a wide range of skills. Currently, the team consists of Trackers, Hasty Searchers, Swiftwater Rescue Technicians, Technical Rope-Rescue Technicians, and Medical First Responders. The Backcountry Unit also has eight Short-Haul Technicians who work alongside the crews of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Air Rescue Helicopters. The Backcountry Unit is commonly called as a rapid response unit in the initial stages of a search or rescue operation.
Typically the team trains on the second Saturday and fourth Sunday of every month. Occasionally this schedule must be modified to work around time conflicts of team members and meet currency requirements of members’ rescue ratings.
If you are interested in joining the Backcountry Unit, come to the Unit’s monthly meeting, which occurs on the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30 pm at the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. At the meeting, you will receive an application packet to fill out and turn in to Dennyse Loll, the county’s Volunteer Services coordinator. Once your application packet has been processed and your background check is completed, you can register for the Basic Search and Rescue Academy. The Academy consists of two eight-hour class days over a Saturday and Sunday which will be set by the Sheriff’s Office. Also, after getting your background check completed, you may begin training with the Backcountry Unit as a probationary member. Your probation period generally lasts from six to twelve months at the discretion of the team. This is a time for you to build your skills, get to know the team, let the team get to know you, and decide if the Backcountry Unit is the place for you to be. At the end of your probation period, there is an interview and voting process to bring you onto the team as an active member. Once you have been voted onto the team you are authorized by the Sheriff's Office to respond on search and rescue missions and help save lives as an integral part of a highly-skilled rescue team!