Helping PemiSAR

Pemigewasset Valley Search & Rescue Team

Donations

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The Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team accepts online donations through GoFundMe Charity.
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Yearly, several thousand dollars in operating expenses are required to safely field a SAR team. These costs include, but are not limited to, a computerized call-out system that dispatches volunteers to the rescue location, State-required non-profit filing fees, necessary equipment upkeep and purchases, and food/beverage supplies for the team's several trainings per year.  No money is provided to individual team members for their service or their equipment.

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In addition to annual operating costs, we have some team equipment that needs updating and/or repair including a litter, ropes, GPS devices, avalanche terrain packs (beacon, probe, shovel), emergency bivvy shelters, first aid equipment and supplies.

We receive no funding from the State, not even from the HikeSafe card program. Any donations received will be used to help others in need. Thank you for your support!

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Joining

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We are no longer accepting new applications as we have exceeded our authorized Active membership level. All applications received after April 15th, 2021 will be added to a waiting list as Pending members and will not be considered until we are below our authorized Active membership levels.

Hikers in good physical condition who live in the local area are eligible to apply for membership. The minimum age is 18.

A good candidate for search and rescue can:
  • "Drop everything" to regularly respond to calls whenever they come in; day or night, weekday or weekend.
  • Navigate on and off-trail while keeping themselves safe in a wilderness environment day or night regardless of weather conditions.
  • Hike for many miles over rough terrain while carrying a heavy load.
We handle about 30-40 calls per year with peaks in the spring and fall and very few in the winter. Most of our missions involve carrying an injured patient out to a trailhead which usually takes from 4-12 hours depending on how far we have to go and requires a minimum of 12-18 people. Occasionally we are called in for searches where we need as many people as we can get for 12-18 hour days. Searches may run for multiple days and members are welcome to join for some days and not others.

Don't worry if you aren't the fastest hiker, carrying a patient or searching the wilderness is slow work which makes our missions more of a marathon than a sprint. We're always happy to have more people on a mission: it gives everyone more time to rest on a carryout, allows us to send teams into more areas during the early phases of a search, and allows us to clear areas more quickly in the later phases of a search.

Members must:
  • Maintain primary permanent residence within 50 miles of exit 32 off of Interstate 93 in New Hampshire.
  • Provide their own personal equipment suitable for the types of missions we perform.
  • Attend 3 missions and 1 training per calendar year, this works out to roughly 10% of the average missions and trainings.
  • Pay $10 dues annually.
The steps of the application process are as follows:
  1. Read the By-Laws, Standard Operating Guidelines, and the suggested 24-Hour Ready Pack list to understand how to team operates and what is required.
  2. Print, complete and sign the three-page Membership Application Form. Mail all three pages with the non-refundable $10 application fee to: PVSART, PO Box 632, Franconia, NH 03580.
  3. Upon PVSART’s receipt of your signed application and fee, you will receive an e-mail outlining the remainder of the process, which includes a meeting to review the SOGs with the Team Captain, a qualifying hike, and, finally, the Captain’s recommendation to the Board of Directors. The Board meets quarterly to act upon recommendations and to conduct other business.
  4. In the interim before the Board’s final action, you will hold “pending member” status, and you are invited to attend meetings and most training sessions. Your email address will be added to the Team list, and you will receive electronic notices of upcoming sessions.
  5. Upon final approval by the Board, you will be asked to provide a suitable digital photo for the Team Photo ID Page or to arrange to have PVSART take your picture. You will then be eligible to participate in search and rescue operations and your contact information will be added to the dispatch roster. You will receive a PVSART membership card. Your $10 application fee will double as your annual dues for the year in which you enter.
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USFS Stewards

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If you'd like to help keep hikers safe but don't feel that you're able to help with Search and Rescue you may be able to volunteer with the US Forest Service as a Trailhead or Backcountry Steward within White Mountain National Forest.

Trailhead Stewards provide hiker safety information at busy trailheads and help prevent search and rescue missions by educating hikers before they set off on a trail that they're unprepared for.

Backcountry Stewards perform a similar role, helping any hikers in need of assistance that they come across while patrolling busy trails and performing light trail maintenance.

More information on these roles is available on the volunteer.gov portal. Both roles require attending volunteer training in the spring so make sure to look into this early in the year if you're interested.

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