What does being a member involve?

Membership of SurSAR is not something to be considered lightly: despite our being unpaid volunteers, the police, fire service and the public expect a professional standard of service. We therefore expect and depend on the full commitment of our members. Joining the team will cost you time and money; you will suffer inconvenience, get wet, cold and may face challenging situations. Your welfare and that of others will depend on your personal skills and your ability to work as part of a team.

Our members are all volunteers. We are on call 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. Members can manage their own on call hours but are expected to make a significant commitment to be available for callouts both during the week and at weekends. Searches happen in all weathers and at all times of the day and night. Please make sure that you consider the impact of this on your work and family before taking this application further.

Who are we looking for?

First and foremost, prospective members must hold and steadfastly exhibit our core values. These are:


A Surrey team member

  • is inclusive of all their colleagues
  • shows resilience under pressure and forms a strong link in the chain
  • is contagiously enthusiastic, raises the spirt of all and remains cheerful in the face of adversity
  • is indomitable in all the tasks and challenges they face


A Surrey team member

  • always strives for the highest standard, is always constructive and is able to be led
  • aspires to be as knowledgeable as possible and always pushes for better
  • takes pride in their specialism and plays their part in growing it
  • remains unflappable and calm under pressure


A Surrey team member

  • is humble and caring when dealing with team, partners and public
  • is open to feedback and always looking to improve
  • is receptive to others’ needs and challenges
  • is modest and generous, and uses their abilities to help mentor and develop others
  • is patient with others who seek support and help


A Surrey team member

  • is dedicated to the shared goals of the team
  • empowers and promotes the values and objectives of the Charity
  • is true to their word, always delivering on what has been promised

These are reflected in many different ways in the profile of our diverse team of responders. Prospective members must be experienced in at least recreational walking and have a basic level of navigation. Experience of radio communications, medical care and working with emergency services may be beneficial but first and foremost being enthusiastic, reliable and trainable are key.

Our fitness standards are those needed to be safe in fulfilling our role. Candidates invited to a selection day can expect a route over undulating terrain, with tasks and challenges incorporated. Additional fitness requirements may apply to specialist roles later in your volunteer career.

As a member we ask a lot of you. It will take months of regular training sessions to become an operational member and, once you’ve achieved operational status, we expect regular attendance at callouts. We’re one of the busiest lowland teams in the UK, with typically 100+ callouts annually including specialised responses for water rescue etc. This can be hard for members and for their families – we endeavour to provide the best support we can for our extended family and many members, past and present, have made friends for life through their SurSAR service.

Some of our ways of working are very different. We’re not employers and you give your time for free but, that notwithstanding, we insist on professionalism at all times. We’re operating in dangerous and stressful environments, so everybody needs to perform their role in a way that minimises the risks as far as is possible. Just as on a callout, outside the operational environment we expect mutual respect and professionalism in our communities and on social media.

Once an established team member with a proven track record for operational response, opportunities exist for specialist training in water rescue, casualty care, drones and specialist vehicles or communications.

If you think you meet this and you’re up for the most rewarding challenge of your life, then we’d love to hear from you.

The process of joining and becoming operational

All applicants will need to complete an application form. Those that meet our criteria will be offered an interview conducted via video conferencing, this will include a person from the team’s management and an experienced team member.

Those successful at interview, will be invited to attend our Hill Day assessment in 2024. This is primarily a fitness walk in the Surrey countryside, rain or shine, that will allow the recruitment team to assess applicants on their fitness, motivation, availability, those who will fit into our team culture and previous relevant experience. Experience is desirable but not essential, all applicants successful at the Hill Day will move into the same training cohort, regardless of previous training.

If successful, at this point you can expect to attend our in-house training course, delivered on weekends and evening sessions across 9 weeks. With all sessions mandatory, you will remain a trainee team member during this period. Non-completion or inability to demonstrate competence will void your place in the team. Following the completion of your trainee phase you will become a probationary team member when we will continue to assess the application and implementation of the skills covered during the trainee phase.

In our various roles, members of Surrey Search and Rescue come into contact with members of the public in many different environments and scenarios. It is paramount that we ensure the safety of all those with whom we interact and we therefore take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously. All successful candidates will be required to undertake Safeguarding training for both adults and children before becoming operational. In addition, as we carry out functions for Surrey Police and other services, all successful candidates will be required to undergo police vetting at the start of the training programme.

Upon successfully passing the probationary phase you may become an operational team member. You will be expected to become an operational member before participating in any of the specialist roles. We anticipate this process to take 5 to 6 months.


The application process to join the team is now closed for this year. If you are still interested in joining the team, please keep an eye on the website and/or follow us on social media. Our next intake is likely to commence in June 2025.

Dates for recruitment and probationary training 2024

Here are the dates for the first phase of training. You will need to be able to attend in person and pass all of these training sessions to become a probationary team member.

June 2024N/AApplication forms open - they will close on the 30th June
July/August 2024N/AInterview period and notification to applicants
08/9/202408:00 – 16:00Hill day – 6 miles in 2 hours fitness assessment and meet more team members. You will be given a two hour slot to attend.
21/09/202410:00 – 17:00 Induction and introduction to training day 1
22/09/202410:00 – 17:00 Induction and introduction to training day 2
30/09/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 1
07/10/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 2
14/10/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 3
21/10/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 4
28/10/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 5
04/11/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 6
11/11/202419:30 – 22:00Training session 7
23/11/2024 & 24/11/202409:00 Saturday – 19:00 - SundayTraining weekend

If you need to contact us about recruitment please email recruitment@surreysar.org.uk