Regular Membership is open to anyone 18 years of age and older who, (a) provides all necessary documentation, (b) successfully meets minimum training and physical fitness requirements, (c) agrees to Membership Guidelines, and (d) is approved by a majority vote of the RAT-SAR Executive Board. All new members are considered Support Members until all minimum training requirements are met.


RAT-SAR members are required to pay $38.00 per year membership dues to cover membership fees with the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads (AARS) and workman’s comp insurance (AARS fees are $20.00 per year, per member and workman’s comp fees are $18.00 per year, per member). All RAT-SAR members must be members of the AARS and be covered under workman’s comp insurance. Note: workman’s comp only covers members in Alabama and contiguous states.

Note: RAT-SAR is not currently accepting new members. Qualified candidates with any combination of training and experience that would further the RAT-SAR mission may contact us expressing interest. Email



To ensure RAT-SAR members are fit to serve in a search and rescue capacity that may require carrying patients in litters over long distances, hiking over rugged terrain, or accessing patients in remote areas, all new members may be required to pass a physical fitness exam and maintain a minimum physical fitness standard. Suggested physical fitness is the ability to hike 3 miles on flat ground in 45 minutes carrying a 45-pound pack. At a minimum, a search and rescue technician should be able to hike 2 miles in 30 minutes with a 25-pound pack. See the Work Capacity Test for more information.


The following should be completed before making application to RAT-SAR:


The RAT-SAR Search and Rescue Training Series is a Position Task Book (PTB) format with five single-day courses and one online course. To receive full membership with RAT-SAR, candidates must successfully complete all six courses and have their instructor sign their PTB for each successfully completed course. Candidates will submit their completed PTB to RAT-SAR for review and certification as a regular member. The PTB will be issued to the candidate at the first class they take. These required classes are at no charge to the applicant and can be completed after the membership application is approved:

  • Land Navigation / Map & Compass / GPS (RAT-SAR or AARS course)
  • Basic Rescuer (RAT-SAR or AARS course)
  • Intro To SAR (RAT-SAR or AARS course)
  • SarTopo / CalTopo (RAT-SAR or AARS course)
  • Initial Response / Helicopter Protocols (RAT-SAR or AARS course)
  • Swiftwater Awareness (free TEEX online course:

RAT-SAR takes training and continuing education seriously. Our missions sometimes requires us to be off-trail working in hazardous or dangerous terrain. We expect all members to be able to perform the required skills during actual missions. It is suggested that members practice skills on a regular basis.


  • Intro to Search and Rescue: Current NASAR SARTECH III, II or I, or other ASTM F2209-20 compliant course or NFPA 1006 compliant course (minimum NFPA 1006-2021 11.1 and 11.2).
  • Basic Rescuer: ASTM F2752-19 or NFPA 1006 Rope Rescue compliant course (minimum NFPA 1006-2021 5.1 and 5.2).
  • TEEX Swiftwater: NFPA 1006 Swiftwater Rescue compliant course (NFPA 1006-2021 18.1 or higher) or RAT-SAR Backcountry Swiftwater Rescue course.

SPECIALIZED TRAINING (Encouraged but not mandatory for regular membership):

  • Technical Rope Operations Course
  • Cave Rescue (Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit (HCRU) program)
  • Single Rope Technique  (HCRU or RAT-SAR program)
  • Swiftwater / Flood Rescue
  • TEEX Wide Area Search
  • FEMA ICS 300
  • FEMA ICS 400
  • EMT
  • HAM Radio Technician License (2-Meter)
  • NC MSAR Program


Scheduled training days will apply to continuing education credit hours. View our training schedule. Please note that all RAT-SAR training is free to active RAT-SAR members and mutual aid partners.