Membership Categories

Honorary Member

Appointed by the membership, Honorary Membership is a special category reserved for community members with unique skills or experience relevant to NORSAR’s activities. Honorary Members are not asked to pay dues or participate in training exercises, but serve the organization through the sharing of their unique skill(s).  Honorary members may:

  • Attend all NORSAR meetings and trainings
  • Attend any and all PR events
  • Advise NORSAR on issues related to their area of experience or knowledge

They may not represent NORSAR in any capacity for the following:

  • Search call-outs
  • Inter-agency trainings
  • NORSAR elected or appointed positions
  • Participate in NORSAR nomination or election processes


All new applicants are considered recruits until they have completed the required NORSAR personnel training course and have been voted into membership by majority vote. See the “Becoming a Member” section for more information.

NORSAR Non-Certified Member

NORSAR non-certified members have been voted into membership but have not yet passed their OSSA Basic Level Search & Rescue test. Non-certified members may participate in nomination and voting processes, hold elected and appointed NORSAR offices, attend all NORSAR meetings and trainings, and participate in all PR events.

  • Level 1 Support:  Members that are in good standing but do not hold a valid SAR card with Clackamas County may attend NORSAR search call outs as part of the team as long as they have completed with 80% proficiency the NORSAR field navigation course and have completed a 1st Aid/CPR class and hold valid certification
  • Level 1 Support members may deploy as Secondary support for wilderness, urban and HRD searches
  • Level 2 Support:  Members that are in good standing but do not hold a valid SAR card with Clackamas County may attend NORSAR search call outs as part of the team as long as they have a basic knowledge of map & compass along with GPS use and operation and have completed a 1st Aid/CPR class and hold valid certification
  • Level 2 Support members may deploy as primary support for urban and HRD searches

NORSAR Certified Member

A certified member is one who has passed the NORSAR and OSSA certification tests and has been approved for membership. Certified Members may:

  • Participate in nomination and voting processes
  • Hold elected and appointed NORSAR offices
  • Respond to all search call-outs
  • Attend all NORSAR meetings and trainings
  • Participate in all PR events
As a volunteer-driven organization NORSAR relies wholly on the dedication, drive and passion of its members for both its existence and its success. Each member has our sincere and heartfelt gratitude for the time and energy expended on behalf of this organization.


Becoming a Member

Once an applicant has decided to join NORSAR, they must:

  • Fill out and submit an application, waiver of liability, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office background check release form, and a $25 application fee
  • Attend a minimum of nine NORSAR sanctioned events, including at least three weekend trainings and at least one monthly meeting
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Pass the Clackamas County background check

After attending the required amount of trainings and submitting all NORSAR application materials, the SAR Academy Director will submit the recruit’s name for membership voting. Recruits that are accepted by majority vote of the membership will be required to pay annual dues of $50, and must immediately enroll in the NORSAR call-out system, and obtain the required uniform pieces (one t-shirt will be provided at no cost).

Uncertified members will have a maximum 2 years from date of membership acceptance into NORSAR in which to pass an OSSA Basic Level Search & Rescue test.

Only voted in members are allowed to deploy on County endorsed/sponsored NORSAR call outs/Searches.

Membership Expectations

Training Logs

All NORSAR members and recruits are required to keep detailed logs of both their training activity and that of their dog (where applicable).


As an all volunteer, team-oriented search and rescue organization, NORSAR members learn to work together by actively and regularly training together. Participation in training exercises is not optional, and is the responsibility of each member. NORSAR certified members, members, and recruits must participate in at least 50% of official trainings per year. Certified members must actively participate in at least 10% of search call-outs annually.

Attendance at monthly business meetings is expected for all levels of membership and are held on the first Thursday of each month.

Continuing Education

Both NORSAR and the OSSA have established minimum standards for participation and continuing education that ensure each Certified SAR operative is able to safely and efficiently execute a missing person search.

To maintain OSSA certification, Certified Members must complete a minimum of 32 hours of continuing education annually, obtained through:

  • Participating in NORSAR training classes/exercises
  • Instructing NORSAR training classes (each hour as an instructor counts as two hours of continuing education)
  • Participation in SAR related training opportunities outside of NORSAR that have been prior approved by NORSAR
  • Participation in inter-agency mock searches
  • Participation in up to 10 hours of in-field time on official search missions