Join The Team | Emergency Response Team Search and Rescue (ERTSAR) UK

Join the UK Team

Thank you for your interest in ERTSAR.

All of our members are unpaid volunteers. There are two ways that you can get involved with our organisation…

  • Operational member -These members meet and train very regularly, take fitness tests once or twice a year and possess several versions of uniform and kit. These are the members who deploy to events, searches, rescues and international disasters, and we expect to see them on a fairly regular basis.
  • Non operational (support) member – These important members help with our administration, logistics for training and deployments, help raise awareness and work on generating much-needed funding. There is no attendance requirement.

Members should be positive team players, constructive problem solvers, with useful skills both operationally and non-operationally. And have a good sense of humour!

How do you become a member?

Uniform and deportment standards are high for operational members. This may encourage some and may deter others. Offensive tattoos and extreme haircuts that can’t be covered or changed will mean a rejection from membership.
Please do not apply for operational membership if you cannot attend regularly due to availability or distance.

Do you think you have what it takes to join our team?

Download the prospectus PDF on the left. Take a moment to read the FAQs below and fill in your details at the bottom of this page. We will contact you with more information in due course.

First, please read this FAQ carefully…

What are the prerequisites to becoming a member?

You must be aged between 18 and 70 years old. For operational members you must be able to clear an enhanced CRB check (with no criminal cases pending or unspent criminal convictions), you should have a good level of personal fitness (a BMI of less that 30 unless heavily muscled), you should be free of limiting medical conditions. We also find that it is a practical and operational benefit to not have heavy smokers and heavy drinkers in operational front line rescue and response work. You must be a legal resident in the UK.

We unfortunately cannot accept applications from those already involved as a volunteer for other SAR/emergency response teams as we feel the commitment to more than one team is unfair and impractical.

There is no prerequisite to becoming a non operational member.

What experience or training should you have?

For operational members, we prefer if you apply to join when you have operational experience – such as the Police, EMS / Ambulance, Fire and Rescue, Military or are a medical professional (i.e. Doctor, Nurse or Paramedic).  We also prefer if you already have training, experience or official certification such as Rescue 3 or NFPA compliant qualification in a Tech. Rescue such as High Angle Rope Rescue, USAR or Swift Water Technician, etc.

In order to act as cox on our boats you must hold an RYA Powerboat Level 2 or equivalent and in swift flood water, a Swift Water Boat Operator certification.

If you posses none of the above, in some cases just a keen desire and physical capacity may be enough!

What commitment is expected from Operational Members?

Due to the operational capacity of the team, expect to commit to a minimum of 2 years with us and expect to have some level of regular attendance.

The team meet and train monthly on the first Saturday of the month. Specialists units such as Marine train more. Then those deployable members are asked to volunteer when a call comes in from our respective partners in the emergency services or international community (UN). For an international deployment, expect to be in the effected country for 10 days.

Non operational members have no attendance requirement and do not deploy with the team.


Where is the team based?

The team’s HQ is located in Henley-on-Thames and training is regularly held there, so please be mindful of this when thinking about joining as an operational member of ERTSAR.

We do have members from all over the country, so there may be options to car pool or share travel costs when attending training.

Do members pay for their essential Operational Training?

No. Members receive their essential operational training for free. They can also access other specialized and non-mandatory training, equipment and services as a benefit of membership, for a discounted rate.

Specialist training that requires payment to external organisations, namely anything that requires certification (such as Swift Water Rescue Technician, First Aid, RYA PB2, etc) must be obtained for certain rescue functions within the team. These courses and certifications can be obtained usually at a discount for members.

Do members pay a membership fee?

Yes. £5 a month (or £60 for the year) which contributes toward their costs of insurance and membership admin, etc. Members all pay this and if there were any hardships we try to work with them.

Do members have to pay for their own uniform and kit?

We ask that new applicants, once accepted as provisional members, purchase their own uniform and boots from our recommended suppliers.

There is a minimum level of duty belt personal kit that you will also need to obtain and we check this kit to ensure it is present and suitable.

Specialist equipment and uniform that the charity owns (such as dry-suits, helmets, PFDs, etc) will be loaned to members for the duration of a deployment or training session.

Now register your interest…

Your initial application will be seen and processed by a Membership Committee and if appropriate you will be invited to attend a general ERTSAR training session or induction in the next few months and meet some of the team. You may even be asked to be an observer or to play a casualty / victim, or participate. No uniform is required at this stage.

Register Your Interest
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Contact Us

Emergency call-outs only:

+44 (0)1491 378 007

All other/general enquiries:

+44 (0)8432 891 478

ERT Search and Rescue, C/O Henley Business School, Greenlands, Oxfordshire, UK, RG9 3AU

Team Administration and Registration