IST is committed to ensuring unit members are skilled and proficient at our roles.  To that end, members are asked to invest significant training time during their first year of membership (the “novice” year), as well as annual continuing education.

Required training includes three components: prerequisite online training, Washington State Core Competency Certification, and IST unit specific requirements, as detailed below.

Prerequisite Training

Online training required to apply for membership.  FEMA training is free of charge to volunteers.

Washington State Search and Rescue Core Competency Training

Training required for all search and rescue workers in King County within the first year of membership; recertification required every five years.

There are two levels of Core Competency responder certification available in King County: Limited Field, and Field.  IST requires members to be certified at the Limited Field level, but encourages members to complete all Core Competency training.

All core competency training is available free of charge to volunteers through a series of KCSARA annual training academies. Additionally, many of the courses are offered online.  Core Competency Support Responder certification includes training in the following subjects (or equivalencies):

  • Legal Issues (classroom and written exam)
  • Survival Skills and Equipment (classroom and written exam)
  • Radio Communications (classroom and written exam. Ham radio license will satisfy this requirement)
  • Land Navigation and GPS Operation (classroom and written exam)
  • Crime Scene Identification and Management (classroom and written exam)
  • Search Organization and Management (classroom and written exam)
  • Search Techniques (classroom and written exam)
  • Helicopter Safety (classroom and written exam)
  • Subject and Searcher First Aid/CPR (class, written exam, practical exam)
  • Rescue Techniques (classroom and written exam)
  • Searcher Safety (classroom, written exam and practical exam)
  • Clue Awareness (classroom and written exam)
  • Physical and Mental Fitness Attestation (written exam)

IST Unit Specific Training

Training required for IST members related to the roles and responsibilities of the unit.  FEMA training is free of charge to volunteers.

Within one year of membership:

More information on search and rescue training can be found at the KCSARA training site or by contacting the IST Training Director,