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Frequently Asked Questions

So you want to join Tonto Rim Search and Rescue?

Click here for info brochure

1. What does TRSAR do? Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad was created to assist the Gila County Sheriff in civilian incidents of people lost or injured in the back country of our county. We can only be activated by the Sheriff's Office.
2. What do I need to be a member? First of all; a willingness to give of your time and energy. Experience is not required, although it is helpful. We will train you in all aspects of SAR that you choose to participate.
3. How do I join? Attend two consecutive squad meetings and fill out an application that will be reviewed by our Board as well as the Gila County Sheriff's Office (GCSO). You will also need to attend a Personnel Committee interview. After favorable recommendations from GCSO, Membership Committee, and the Board, the members vote to accept all new applicants.
4. What does it cost? Our dues are $20.00 per year but each member is responsible for their personal equipment. Cost depends on what you presently own and what level you become involved with. Items needed include clothing (summer/winter), compass, pack, flashlights, whistle, hiking stick and other misc. small stuff. Other Items to consider, GPS, 2 meter radio, 4 WD ATV, Rope Gear, PC, etc.
5. Why do you charge dues? Dues are required so that each person is qualified as a member. The fee sets you apart from people who just attend meetings without participation.
6. Can my kids join? Any resident of Gila County who is at least 18 years of age can apply for membership.
7. Can my spouse join also? Your spouse is welcome to join; we have several husband-wife members. Dues for the second family member are price, i.e. $10.00 per year.

I am physically limited, how could I participate? Due to the many facets of Search and Rescue, there are always things that need done and every person has talents that are valuable to us. Even those who are not able to hike mountains will find meaningful activities in our group.

9. I have a police record, does that matter? Arizona Statutes require that the County Sheriff do a background check on all civilian search and rescue applicants. Anyone with a felony record will be declined membership. If you have a special case and feel this should not apply to you, then you need to contact the Sheriff's Office for clarification prior to filling out our application.
10. Can we carry firearms? Firearms are not allowed on the person of any civilian search and rescue person while on official missions or trainings unless specifically instructed by the Sheriff's Office.
11. What about danger of wild animals? The problem might occur, but in our 40 year history we have never had a negative incident with any animal or reptile. One recent summer there were some rabid animal situations and the GCSO did allow us to carry small side-arms during missions in those specific regions.
12. How is TRSAR funded? We are a private not-for-profit 501-C-3 corporation and have no public monies; therefore we hold annual fund-raisings to meet our budget. We also encourage and accept free-will donations from individuals and businesses.
13. Do we get reimbursed for expenses? No, except for vehicle fuel used during an official mission, any expense you incur is not reimbursed. They are, however, tax-deductible as long as you keep records.
14. Are my expenses or time tax deductible? Yes, with accurate record keeping, your actual expenses are because you are a volunteer for a 501-C-3 organization. Your time, however, is not a deductible item.
15. Do you have any paid employees? No, we are all volunteers, therefore all donations we receive are used for the purpose they were intended; the sustaining and improving search and rescue efforts in Gila County, AZ.
16. How often do you meet? Our General Membership meeting is held once a month on the 2nd Thursday. The governing Board meets on the preceding Tuesday.
17. Where do you meet? The General Membership meeting is held at the Payson Library Meeting room at Rumsey Park at 7:00 PM. The Board meets at the Squad Headquarters building on Lost Oak Lane in Strawberry.
18. I have no experience in SAR, do we get trained? Yes, we provide training in all aspects of Search and Rescue, generally in our County. Some specialty training may be held at other locations in Arizona. We hold some type of training nearly every week, some on the weekend and some during the weekdays.
19. Do we get involved in criminal searches? No, TRSAR is a civilian SAR organization and the Sheriff has other trained personnel for criminal incidents.
20. Are we deputies for the Sheriff? Only in an official capacity, during missions, are we considered deputies because the Sheriff has ultimate responsibility for our actions during that time. We are not law enforcement providers and have no authority over other citizens..


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