Application Process

Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council, Inc.

P.O. Box 292
Bellingham, WA 98227


BMRC Application

Background Check

New Member Info

New Member Info Sheet 

Application Process: Your application package should include: 

Your completed 2 page Application and Emergency Worker Registration card may be mailed to the address above, or emailed to The BMRC Board reviews applications and the Board Secretary will contact applicants. Board meetings are held on an as needed basis. While your application is pending, you are encouraged to attend meetings.

Emergency Worker Card: Following acceptance as a member, you will receive an emergency worker card from the state Department of Emergency Management. This card/ registration insures that the worker is covered in case of injury/ disability and is mandatory for participation in any BMRC training or mission. In some cases, such as adopting skilled climbers to assist in an official mission, filling out the Emergency Worker Registration and handing it to an officer along with properly signing in, (with approval of the Operations Leader), will provide coverage. Tips on filling out card: “Jurisdiction” is (Whatcom County). “Emergency Worker Assignment” is (SAR, BMRC). No photograph is needed. 

First Aid Requirement: BMRC policy mandates that in order to become a Trainee or for any member to participate in a mission, that member must have a “current” first aid certification. Red Cross Standard or equivalent is considered minimum. Certification is documented on our call roster. It is every member’s responsibility to obtain re-certification as necessary and forward a copy to the BMRC Secretary. 

BMRC sponsorship of EMT status: Members wishing to become EMTs must be Support status or above before BMRC will provide authorizing signatures. Applicants with current EMT certification should inquire with the BMRC Board regarding transfer of sponsorship. Active participation in trainings, missions and meetings is necessary to maintain sponsorship. 

Requirements for Trainee: Upon Board acceptance of the Membership application and submission of Emergency Worker Card, the new member is classified as an “Applicant”. BMRC members must be Trainee before they can be deployed in the field during a mission. The requirements to become a Trainee are relatively simple and it is highly recommended to pursue the completion of these items aggressively so as to become available for mission experience. The requirements for Trainee are as follows: 

 ❑ Pass a pack check: Bring your “24 hour rescue pack” and auxiliary duffel to any meeting and 

have it checked by a Rescue status or above (or board member)member. Appropriateness of your equipment for the backcountry/ rescue environment will be the criterion more so than the exact list of items included. Experienced members generally keep one pack ready year round with the basic 10 essentials and personal rigging1. A companion duffel, which carries harness, helmet, crampons, ice ax, stove, fuel, etc., allows you to add and delete at the trailhead. It is possible to respond to a mission in sub-alpine or rock terrain and later be diverted to another mission on snow. Equipment lists are a never-ending, never quite complete endeavor. 1. See equipment list(s) at the end of this document. 

❑ Demonstrate proficiency in the following knots/ bends/ hitches: 

Knots: overhand; overhand on a bight; figure 8 on a bight; follow through figure 8; bowline with a double overhand safety; butterfly; Bends: double overhand bend (fisherman’s); double sheet bend with double overhand safety; overhand follow through bend, (webbing); Hitches: prusik hitch; clove hitch; munter hitch. 

❑ Have a current first aid certification. (As described above.) 

Pagers and BMRC callouts: Our pager system is BMRC’s primary callout mechanism for search and rescue missions. The pagers in combination with a voice mail number are often used as a reminder a few days before a training event. During missions, operations leaders may have the call committee initiate a call-out of not-on-page persons, but time and logistics do not always allow this. In reality, persons without pagers will receive timely alert for only a small percentage of missions. Members of at least Trainee status who wish to apply for a pager may do so by leaving a voice mail message for Harte Bressler at 733-1010. Pager cost is currently about $55.00 / yr. These pagers respond to individual pages as well as BMRC group pages and may be used for personal purposes as well. 

Mountain Rescue Pack List/ Frequently needed SAR equipment items: 

“Knowledge is light in the rucksack, and cannot be left at home” 

-Arnor Larson 

Note: the following list should be considered a primer for new members and not exhaustive. BMRC members should keep a basic internal frame pack at the ready year round. Packs should be large enough to carry rescue gear (rope, etc.), in addition to your personal equipment. Climbing packs with a narrow profile that allow moving in confined spaces are best. Your pack should always include the 10 essentials: 

  1. Map of area. Ideally members should have a complete set of 7 1/2 minute USGS maps for Whatcom County. For reasons of affordability and likelihood of use, it is suggested acquiring maps in the following order: ❑ Greentrails, 13, Mt Baker; 14, Mt Shuksan; 45, Hamilton; 46, Lake Shannon. ❑ USGS 7- 1/2 maps: Bellingham South and Lake Whatcom; Bellingham North and Lawrence. ❑ Trail maps of the Chuckanut range and Mountain Bike guides of Lookout (Galbraith) Mountain. ❑ Greentrails 15, Mt Challenger and 47,Marblemount. 

❑ 7-1/2 quads of all the Greentrails maps listed. (Greentrails maps are a modified 15’ map. It 

takes four 7 -1/2‘ maps to represent the same area covered in one 15’ map). ❑ The rest of Whatcom County in 7- 1/2 quads. ❑ Other /optional: additional Greentrails maps of the North Cascades progressing south from Whatcom County, (often useful if responding in mutual aid missions). 

  1. Compass: A Silva Ranger or equivalent is suggested. A movable declination setting on the inner moving bezel can be extremely useful. 
  2. Headlamp with extra batteries: (sufficient for 8 hours illumination). 
  3. Extra Food: A 24hr supply in pack, (app. 2lbs dry) is a practical minumum. (48-72 hr supply is MRA recommended amount.) Food should not require cooking, contain a mixture of simple and complex carbohydrates and store well. Extra Water: 2 liters minimum. One bottle min. should be wide mouth. Include purification method. Additional water and additional food supply should be available in duffel. 
  4. Extra Clothing/ Raingear: Enough to survive the night in the worst conditions possible. Clothing must be wool/ polypro/ polyester pile/ nylon and/ or breathable nylon fabrics. No cotton! Parka should be of a waterproof/ seamsealed fabric. Breathable fabrics are most comfortable, but test to be sure they are “adequately” water-resistant. Garbage bag/ or tube tent/ or extendible pack and insulating foam pad(s) small enough to fit inside your pack are part of this emergency insulation category, especially if you are not carrying a bivi sack. Having some second-line clothing, (extra balaclava/ synthetic shell garments), can be valuable if you need to re-insulate a cold/wet subject without using your own first line protection! Extra hat/ balaclava would give the most heat loss prevention per ounce. 
  5. Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Make sure sunglasses are UV protective. Darker glacier glasses with side shields for snow plus an inexpensive pair of backups good for sunny non-snow is one option. Sunscreen should be heavy duty such as SPF 45 or more. 
  6. Knife; Small and simple is good. 
  7. Matches in waterproof container: Matches should be the “waterproof style”. (Rarely used so package these for long storage!) 
  8. Candle stub or fire starter. 
  9. First Aid Supplies: Based on your level of training. Detailed list will be addressed elsewhere. Some considerations based on evolving trends in rescue, however, would be to include several pairs of examination gloves, (nitrile is tougher than latex), and a light CPR pocket mask. For anyone with a strong interest in emergency medicine, having the Hepatitis B vaccination series is a good idea. (This is mandatory for those with occupational exposure to blood or body fluids.)

Mountain Rescue Equipment list(s): These lists are not meant to be a complete inventory of mountaineering gear. (See basic mountaineering course lists for that.) This is simply minimum “rescue essential” equipment. If you are newer to mountaineering and lack many of these items, I would suggest taking your time in acquiring them. “Gearing up” initially takes many months or even years (and it never ends). Attend a mountaineering course, borrow or rent equipment, ask questions of climbing friends and climbing store staff, read and research, and only then, consider buying. 

Trainee, Support, and above 

Required personal rigging gear: Items recommended for any technical rescue or practice: ❑ Climbing Helmet ❑ Climbing Harness ❑ Chest harness or 12’ webbing ❑ Assorted extra 1″ tubular webbing to include: one 20′ red, one 12′ yellow, one 5′ green (Note: 20′ webbing makes sit harness and hasty patient carry.) ❑ 2 or 3 Extra 6mm or 8mm prusik loops ❑ Leather gloves with clip loops ❑ Eye protection/ hearing protection, (especially around helos) ❑ Personal ascending system, prusik type. ❑ Rappel/ belay device, ATC style or Slot device recommended (doesn’t twist rope) ❑ 3 Locking carabiners ❑ Rescue pulley, (mini PMP is strongly recommended) ❑ EMT shears,(recommended) or knife 

Trainee Support and above Other required basic mountaineering equipment: 

❑ Boots, mountaineering, adequate for rugged off-trail and snow travel. (Plastic boots recommended for snow.) ❑ Internal frame climbing pack. One should be large enoughfor overnight gear plus rescue equipment. ❑ Ice Axe ❑ Crampons, (tested for proper fit with boots) ❑ Sleeping bag and insulated pad 

Optional equipment that is valuable in SAR Altimeter/GPS: Extremely valuable navigation tool. Essential on some missions. ❑ Bivi-sack and pieces of insulating foam: The more remote the mission and the more extreme the potential weather, the more I value these items. Possible uses: Personal bivouac / self care if injured; Protection of subject; Assist in maintaining body heat if required to “standby” in inclement weather, which occasionally happens in SAR. ❑ Flagging Tape; (100’min): Useful in marking routes during rescues. There is usually a supply in the rescue vehicle but you have to have it with you in order to use it! ❑ Pencil/ pen and notepad: (Waterproof is good!) Keeping track of names, subject descriptions, locations and medical data is a frequent SAR task.