The decision to pursue membership needs to be carefully examined by each individual. The nature of our missions requires a degree of self-reliance while in the backcountry. Our rescuers commonly embark on missions as small teams that are expected to be completely self-sufficient for up to 24 hours in the mountains and have the capacity to provide emergency care to the distressed party. Because of these unique demands, mountaineers wishing to become part of Bellingham Mountain Rescue must be comfortable traveling and working in steep, exposed, mountain terrain in all weather. Members must own equipment and clothing suited to operating in the North Cascades year-round and have a strong foundation of mountain travel skills, such as the following:
- Formal training in glacier travel and crevasse rescue, avalanche safety and rescue, and several years of mountaineering experience is standard
- Competent at navigation in an alpine environment
- Route-finding on glaciers
- Self-rescue skills like ascending a rope and pulley systems
- Belaying and rappelling
- Knots and ropework
- Self-arrest and climbing with an ice-axe
- AIARE and WFR certification are encouraged but not required.
- A valid first-aid and CPR card is the minimum required medical training
- Applicants must show a history of sound decision-making and leadership in the mountains, as well as the ability to work productively as part of a team.
Our organization trains in group rescue and search skills, not in basic mountain travel. All applicants must pass a background check from the Whatcom County department of Emergency Management.
Members must commit to attending missions, trainings, and meetings throughout the year in order to create and maintain a culture of cohesiveness, professionalism and mission readiness.
Those wishing to become part of the unit to provide support in a non-field capacity such as administrative, fundraising/grant writing, and base operations may apply to be a support member. Please write a letter to the board detailing how you wish to be involved in the unit, what your qualifications are, and email it to BMRCsecretary@whatcomes.org. The board will evaluate your proposal when it is vetting new member applications.
Orientation Dates and Application Deadline:
We process new member applications and provide a new-member orientation twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Applications received thought the year will be reviewed in August and February respectively.
The application process:
- Complete the BMRC application form (Online application or PDF)
- Provide a cover letter explaining your background as well as your motivation for joining Bellingham Mountain Rescue.
- Provide a sample climbing/outdoor resume that broadly reflects your proficiency and experience level. High technical ice and rock climbing ability are not mandatory requirements, however, glacier mountaineering experience is necessary.
- Email these completed forms to BMRweb@wcsar.org. (Online Application will automatically send application)
- Qualified Applicants will be interviewed by one or more board members.
- Approved Members will submit a Background Check as well as a Emergency Worker Registration Card
- New Members will attend a New Member Orientation (1-2 days)
· Download BMRC_Application
· Download BMRC Background Check
· Review New Member Information
All applications are reviewed by an 8-member board of directors and voted on individually. Applications can be submitted at any time once all the necessary forms are completed, however, they are only reviewed twice annually to coincide with our new membership orientations held once in the spring and again in the fall.
Once voted favorably, all applicants are required to attend a new member orientation and training. This involves several online training modules that new members must complete on their own time, which introduce standard operational practices for missions, introduce some tools we use to communicate, and provide an outline of expectations. There will also be an all-day session to familiarize everyone with our facility and equipment, verify mission readiness by including a “pack check” – to ensure each new member is properly equipped for missions, and practice the skills for simple ground evacuation.