The Search and Rescue Act was put into law in 1978. All SAR activities are coordinated by the New Mexico State Police Division. The primary resources for SAR incidents are volunteers. In the 45 years since the search and rescue law was passed, SAR volunteers have been activated thousands of times. Hundreds of people owe their lives to these citizens.
SAR volunteers are organized in not-for-profit charities, like Pecos Valley Public Services. Those organizations have to be recognized as Search & Rescue resources by the State of New Mexico. In order to become recognized, the charities have to provide certain capabilities and must adhere to a number of regulations (like the Search & Rescue Standard Operating Procedures).
The organizations are responsible for continuous training in order to maintain professional levels of readiness. They are also required to provide all of the general SAR equipment, such as stretchers, litters, vehicles and trailers, radios, binoculars, night vision equipment, ropes, uniforms, rappelling gear, protection equipment, and everything else that may be required to find subjects efficiently and fast.
In addition, the organizations need to provide office space for meetings, class-room education and they usually pay for mandatory trainings such as basic first-aid CPR/AED.
While the police, fire fighters or other public safety organizations receive funding from governmental sources, all Search and Rescue organizations throughout the state are privately funded. Volunteers not only invest time into intensive training and while away on missions, they often also lose income or have to expend vacation days whenever they are called upon. On top of it all, our volunteers are expected to pay for their own specialized training and for their own equipment.
There is no workman’s compensation, no retirement benefits, no life or disability insurance, and no tax write-offs for the work nor for membership dues.
While the State of New Mexico provides insurance when we are called out, there is no protection whatsoever when we are conducting training which is, of course, essential for all Search and Rescue volunteers.
We are well trained, highly motivated and ready for any mission. What we need is additional equipment to help us do our job better and faster – which potentially translates to lives being saved.
This is why we are reaching out and are asking for help.
If you have any question, please call us anytime at: 505-600-3068 or click to leave a message.
Thank you very much.