Frequently Asked Questions


How often are the searches and when do they happen?

LSAR averages about 10-15 searches each year. They can happen at any time of day or night

My friend/family member is missing, can LSAR help?
Please contact 911 and file a missing person’s report. LSAR is only dispatched through government agencies.
What kind of searches do we do?
Members are trained for both missing person and evidence searches. Some of the evidence searches are not as urgent and may be scheduled with several days’ notice. We are a ground search team – we do not do airborne or K9 search, although we may be tasked alongside other teams that may do that.
How long will a search last for?
Searches can be as short as an hour or stretching into several days on occasion. They are split into shifts called “operational periods”, usually about 8 hours each. When you are notified about a search you will be expected to bring 24 hours of supplies with you.
What if I'm mega-busy at work and can't make a search?

If you are unable to make it for a search that’s no problem, as volunteers we all have personal lives as well. However, to remain operational you must meet the minimum participation requirements set by the organization over a 12-month period, including participation in some searches.

How do we know when there is a search?
Every member of LSAR has their cell or home phone registered with our call out system (D4H personnel app). When you get the call, you then respond in D4H where you will be given the basic details about the search.
Do I have to carry my gear with me?

You are expected to carry your cell phone with you all the times when you are available to search. Your packs should be packed and ready to go. Many of our members keep these in their vehicles for faster response time.

What if I've been out partying and there is a callout?

You must be fit for duty and in full control of your faculties when at training or on a search. If you have been out partying and there is a callout, you may not attend.

Costs & Recruitment

How much does it cost to join?

The joining fee is currently a $50 fee.

Are there ongoing costs?

Annual membership dues are currently $50 in the first year, $40 in the second year, and $30 each year thereafter.  There is a cost for some of the training we do. This is subject to change.

Do I need to buy any equipment?

You must provide your own equipment. You will be provided a list of items you will need for your SAR packs. If you are a hiker or outdoors person you may have a good part of the required equipment already and each member must have their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

What do I need to bring to the Recruitment Information Night (Open House)?

Due to Covid, all recruitment open houses are paused. We will resume Recruitment Info Nights in 2023. Please watch our Facebook page for announcements.

I live outside of London, is that a problem?

Some of our current members live outside of London itself, as far away as Dorchester, Ilderton, Wallacetown, Iona Station, St. Thomas, and Mount Brydges. As long as you are okay with the many events you will need to come into London for, then there is no problem. The vast majority of all our meetings, training and special events are in London – Your response time to searches is also something to think about.  If you are more than 100km from London we will not recruit you onto our team.

If you live further away, you may be better served to join a team closer to you. We recommend visiting to view other SAR teams within Ontario.

I can't make the interview or one of the training days... can I still join?
No. You absolutely must make your interview and all of the training days scheduled for that particular recruitment period.
How can I transfer to LSAR?

If you are currently a member of another ground Search team, and want to transfer to LSAR, please email our Recruiting officer at to discuss your situation and qualifications.

What kind of people join London Search & Rescue?
Volunteers at LSAR come from diverse backgrounds and each of our members brings a unique set of skills to the team. Everyone from artists and academics to police officers, engineers to karate instructors to nurses, and mechanics to clerks to entrepreneurs join our team. We are committed to equality of race, colour, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
My work requires me to be away for a month or more for part of the year. Can I still apply to join?
We have many members who have responsibilities that take them away from home for a month or two at a time. These include members of the Canadian Armed Forces, travel nurses, and scientists working in the field for extended periods. It sometimes takes these volunteers longer to complete their basic training, but we welcome their energies when they are at home. Volunteers who are posted overseas with the military or who are taking parental leave can apply for a formal leave of absence from LSAR.


How much time will I have to put in?

The single biggest reason people leave any volunteer organization is because they cannot keep up the commitment required. It is vital you understand there is a significant commitment of time and effort expected when you join LSAR. After your recruit training is over, you are required to do searches, attend monthly committee meetings, take ongoing training and to participate in marketing and fundraising activities.

Where is the training?

Training varies from classroom to outdoor field exercises in varied terrain in and around London.

What training do I need to be an Operational Member?

Training requirements are 1) valid Standard First Aid with CPR, 2) IMS100 certificate through the Office of the Fire Marshall, 3) valid Criminal Matters Judicial records Check, and 3) completion of the 4-day long Basic Search and Rescue course.

Is there a cost for the training?

Yes. The tuition for the Basic Search and Rescue course is $50 and is payable prior to you being placed on the course.  The course is 4 days (one full weekend, followed later by another full weekend).

How fit do I need to be?

Search and Rescue is physically demanding. You will often be required to search in arduous terrain while carrying a heavy pack. If you get puffed walking up a few flights of stairs at work then this is definitely not for you! All members must complete a yearly 10km hike, with packs on, within 2.25 hours.

Which type of background check is needed for LSAR?

Criminal Matters Judicial Records Check performed by the OPP is required by all members prior to being allowed on the BSAR training course.

What if I can’t pass a Criminal Matters Judicial Records Check?

We would encourage you to seek volunteer opportunities elsewhere.

My first aid certificate has expired - when must I have it renewed by?

You need to have it prior to being recruited onto our team. If your certificate is currently expired please book a standard (16 hour) first aid / CPR Level C with AED certification course immediately through a provider.

Which type of first aid certificate is it that I need?

At minimum you need Standard First Aid/CPR Level C with AED certification, which is a 16 hour course that covers both adult and child CPR, and it must have been provided through an accredited provider.  We don’t have a preference on the provider. If you’ve lost your certificate, please contact your training provider who may be able to replace it.

If you have any further questions about joining, please email us at:

I need volunteer experience for my chosen career, can I join LSAR to get this?

If you join us you are committing to all the responsibilities of being a member. We are a charity for helping find lost people, not a charity for helping your career.

Other FAQ

Do we get paid?

There are no paid positions in LSAR. 

Are we insured for injury?

Yes. The province insures LSAR members with WCB coverage when on training or a search tasking. Make sure you sign in when attending official activities to ensure you are covered.

Do I need to have a vehicle?

While it would be very useful to have a vehicle to get to training and operations, it isn’t mandatory, providing you are able to get transportation to and from events and search locations, occasionally on an urgent basis.

Do I need to have internet access?

Yes. A very large part of our communications is done by email and with our search responder site (D4H).

My dog is an excellent tracker - can I do K9 SAR with them?

We are not a canine search team. It is strongly recommended that you become a searcher first for several years to ensure your own capabilities and compatibility with a SAR team.  If you have any questions regarding the canine program in OSARVA, please check out the following link

Is London Search and Rescue a Registered Charity?
Yes. Registered Charitable Organization
#70931 0478 RR0001
I would like to donate a piece of equipment that LSAR may find useful. Who can I contact about that?

Please contact and they will forward your info to the internal department.

I am from the Media and would like to contact LSAR. Who do I contact?

Please contact