Milestones in the History of PLSAR

Jan 2001 - Initial Formation Meetings to consider forming a SAR Team at Priest Lake in order to:
  • Provide a SAR capability with a one hour or less response time
  • Improve Community Relations with Bonner County Sheriff's Office (BCSO).
Mar 2001 - Basic SAR Training began and continues monthly. Topics include:
  • CRP & Basic First Aid, Map & Compass, Crime Scene & Evidence, Firearms & Use of Force, Haz-Mat Awareness, Helicopter Operations, ICS, NIMS & NRP Procedures, Land-Based Search Management, Marine Boat Operations, Radio Communications Procedures, Rope Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, Winter Wilderness Survival, Wilderness Medicine, and other disciplines.
Jul 2001 - Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce Grant
  • The initial grant of $21,500 was used to purchase communications and navigational equipment. This provided the team with basic communications and navigation capabilities, allowing it to operate independently of any other unit. This has been a key to the Team's successes.
Sep 2001 - Operational
  • Priest Lake SAR Team (SAR District-1) successfully completed its first SAR Exercise, and was certified operational by the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.
Mar 2002 - Priest Lake Search & Rescue incorporated under Idaho and Federal law:
  • To recruit, train, & equip SAR volunteers to assist law enforcement
  • For charitable IRS 501(c) (3) purposes. (Letter of Determination received.)
To Present - The Team conducts regular Basic Training for all members monthly. Technical Search and Rescue capabilities include:
  • Wilderness and Mountain Navigation & Rescue (all weather - all terrain capable)
  • Avalanche Rescue
  • Rope Rescue
  • Dive Recovery
  • Swift Water Rescue / Recovery

Members are trained in ICS, NIMS and Haz-Mat. The Teamís command element has completed advanced training to allow it to serve as overhead within a Type-III ICS Team. This expands the teamís role and capabilities to assist when first responder (Fire, Medical, and Law Enforcement) resources are overwhelmed and/or need additional support, (e.g., airplane/school bus crash, fire, flood, evacuations, or other major incident/disaster, whether man-made or natural.)

Through funding from the Idaho Community Foundation, and Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce Grants, as well as funds earned at the annual Huckleberry Festival, PLSAR has constructed a Field Command Post Trailer. This Trailer had solar and gas generator (15,000 watts) power and radio communications system to facilitate establish forward operating command and control centers for any incident. This CP Trailer with our trained Overhead Team is available to assist any surrounding jurisdiction on any extended incident.

The Future - Contingent on funding and insurance, the team will continue to develop additional technical rescue skills similar to those of USAR Team, including Full Swift Water Rescue, Ice Rescue, Collapsed Structure, Confined Space, and Trench Rescue.