Whether you’re an avid hiker, know your way around boats or vehicles, or are an expert at feeding large groups, Halifax Search & Rescue relies on a variety of skills at all times and welcomes your involvement.

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Volunteer Roles

Volunteering at Halifax Search & Rescue fulfills a variety of interests and areas of specialization—be they related to on-the-ground searching, managing the logistics of a search and rescue operation, educating the public, organizing fundraising events or working behind the scenes to assist with the administration of the organization. Orienteering, digital mapping, cooking, management, tracking, mechanical know-how, first aid, radio communications, event planning, fundraising, boating, accounting, IT, grant writing—the list of goes on. Volunteer expertise at HSAR is numerous and varied, and all roles are vital to supporting the HSAR team.

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The HSAR Volunteer

It is incredibly rewarding to assist someone in times of need. Halifax Search & Rescue volunteers rally in these times with skill, strategy and precision to execute search and rescue operations 24/7, 365 days a year. We are one of the most active search and rescue teams in North America per capita.

Most search and rescue operations focus on locating and rescuing lost people, and these incidents are rarely convenient or known to the public. Searches often occur at night, off trail in rough terrain, and in challenging weather conditions. HSAR team members are willing and able to respond in these conditions, and understand that responding to a search is a priority. While we have fun as a team, we are not a club or an avenue for training. Halifax Search & Rescue is an emergency response organization that requires a substantial and consistent commitment throughout the year.

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Join the Team

Halifax Search & Rescue is always looking for good people. Twice a year, we host a Prospective Volunteer Information Session for anyone interested in joining the team. These sessions are the best times to visit the base, meet team members, and start the application process. We look forward to meeting you!

Upcoming Volunteer Information Sessions:

June 19th 2018 Volunteer Information Session: REGISTRATION FULL

June 20th 2018 Volunteer Information Session
This information session will take place at 19:00 at our base in Lower Sackville. The focus of the session will be informing you about what is involved in volunteering with Halifax Search & Rescue. Application forms are distributed by email later, so there is no pressure to apply on-site. Pre-registration is required for attendance at this session, as space is limited. Please note that we are presently recruiting only for these positions:

  • Field Responder (searcher) – this role primarily involves the active searching for lost persons and assisting in rescues. While searches may occur in urban environments, the focus on training and selection revolves around remote wilderness environments. Interested volunteers must be both physically and mentally capable of bushwacking for extended periods of time, entirely off trails, through thick woods and uneven terrain, while carrying a full pack and almost exclusively at night. Interested volunteers must be able to commit to regular training (primarily Monday evenings, with several weekend courses through the year), as well as responding to callouts. 24/7 callout availability is not expected, but a reasonable numbers of available hours per week is.
  • Logistics Support – this role involves responding to callouts, and assisting the overhead team as required on-site. Example tasks may include signing in searchers, food preparation, and managing and obtaining supplies. This role does not involve active participation as a searcher, but does require that volunteers be available to respond to callouts for a reasonable number of hours per week.
  • Hug-a-Tree Presenter – this non-responder role involves presenting the Hug-a-Tree program to various children’s groups around HRM. We provide the training and resources to get presenters up to speed, so no prior experience with the program is required. Prospective volunteers must pass the same entry and criminal records checks as any other potential HSAR volunteer, and are expected to be involved with the team for other fundraising and community outreach projects, but are not expected to respond to searchers.

All individuals interested in volunteering must pass a criminal records check (including vulnerable sector check), must be at least 19 years of age, must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and must go through a multi-step selection process which later involves an interview. Since we have a limited number of spaces, we regrettably are often not be able to accept all interested volunteers.

To register for the Prospective Volunteer Information Session, please click here. Again, space is limited, and only those who pre-register and attend the session are eligible to apply.

January 2019 Volunteer Information Sessions
Date TBA. Check back in early December for exact date and registration form.

Have a question? Check out the FAQ for answers to some of our most common questions.