Rescuers smiling while practicing rope rescue on flat ground.

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Application Information

The decision to pursue membership needs to be carefully examined by each individual. Maintaining certifications and competence through training, mission response, and outreach events are a significant time commitment, especially as a volunteer. Our rescuers commonly respond to missions at any time, day or night, as small teams that are expected to be completely self-sufficient 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 and all seasons. Members must have the work/life flexibility to attend training and mission, own suitable equipment and clothing, and have a strong foundation of mountain travel skills, such as the following: 

  • Three years of experience in alpine rock, snow, and glacier mountaineering, documented in a climbing resume.
  • Capable of making complex navigation decisions alone and with a team. Off-trail navigation a plus.
  • Glacier travel, routefinding and crevasse rescue including nighttime and low-visibility conditions.
  • Climbing skills including knots, trad gear placement, anchor building, belaying and rappelling, and self-rescue.
  • Minimum medical certification is current First Aid/CPR Card. Advanced certification a plus (WFR, EMT, RN).
  • Applicants must demonstrate a history of sound decision-making and leadership in the mountains, as well as the ability to work effectively under operational leadership. References may be required. 
  • Ability to participate in a culture of inclusivity and varied backgrounds.
  • Must be able to pass a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office background check.

We expect all our applicants to be able to exhibit leadership and personal technical skills in challenging environments. After our application and interview process, our organization will train you in specialized search and rescue skills and advanced personal skills. 

The volunteer commitment is massively rewarding, but cannot be understated. Members are expected to attend missions, training, and meetings throughout the year in order to create and maintain a culture of cohesiveness, professionalism and mission readiness.

If these intense requirements don’t sound like you, don’t worry! There are other options to consider such as Summit to Sound Search and Rescue, our ground-based counterpart, or coming on as an Administrative Member of BMRC. 

Administrative Members

Running an all-volunteer rescue agency is no small feat. In addition to soliciting financial donations, we welcome those interested in donating their time to the rescue community. Those wishing to become involved in the unit in a non-field capacity such as administrative (housekeeping, equipment, maintenance), fundraising/grant writing, and base operations should apply to be a support member. Please write a letter to the board detailing how you wish to be involved in the unit and what your qualifications are, and the board will evaluate your proposal with other new member applications.

Orientation Dates and Application Deadline:

We accept applications year-round, although they are reviewed once a year, due August 1st. We hold new member orientation training in early Fall, typically at the beginning of October.

The Application Process:
  1. Complete the BMRC Application form here.
  2. Applicants may be contacted to interview with one or more board members.
  3. Qualified applications are submitted to the Board of Directors
  4. Approved candidates will submit a Background Check Authorization as well as an Emergency Worker Registration Card before the New Member Orientation.

All applications are reviewed by an 8-member Board of Directors and voted on individually. Applications can be submitted at any time once all of the necessary forms are completed, however, they are only reviewed once annually to coincide with our new membership orientations held in the fall.

Questions? Reach out to us

Bellingham Mountain Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer run organization

Donations and support from people like you help ensure that we can be ready to assist the community when the need arises. Please consider donating so that we can provide critical support when people need us most.