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Search training is one never-ending aspect of MSAR operations. Maui terrain and weather can vary from high to low, dry to wet, dense to barren, wild to urban. Field teams must be trained, equipped, and prepared to function safely in all our environments. MSAR members are ready to respond.

Training Requirements

The MSAR initial recruit training requirements consist of:

  • 20 hours training including 1 classroom session conducted on a weekday evening and 2 field sessions conducted on a weekend.

  • Field personnel additional requirements include: ability to pass Backcountry Physical Test which includes hiking the equivalent of 3 miles in rough terrain in less than 1.5 hours while carrying a pack that is 20% of your body weight (weight to be determined in the field, not including water).

  • All field and some support roles are required to pass the free online FEMA course ICS-100. Candidates are encouraged but not required to also complete ICS-200, and ICS-700 in order to join.


After joining, members are required to complete additional courses and participate in continual training sessions throughout membership and   

To receive notification of the next MSAR training course contact

Basecamp operations provide vital information, support, and communications to the field as well as coordination with other agencies and the public. Training requirements for basecamp ops may omit the Backcountry Physical Test.

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Training Materials

Recruit Study List (Module 1 Basic)

Recruit Equipment List


Training Module 2​ -Members (After Joining)

The following videos are also linked in the presentation above; they are listed here for convenient access. Trainees should review all videos in these links.

K-9 Teams

K-9 teams are an extremely valuable resource for search & rescue. On most searches we will have both K-9 and ground teams searching. 


"Search and Rescue" is not a single discipline! There are many different disciplines for search and rescue. The primary disciplines that will be used most frequently here on Maui are tracking, trailing, air scenting, and human remains detection (HRD).

Training a search dog to the point of certification generally takes about a year and half, although that will depend on the diligence of the handler and the dog's abilities.

You should plan to train 3 times per week:  2 shorter trainings on weekdays afternoon/evenings and a longer training on the weekend. We all know life happens and you may not be able to train 3 times every week, but 3 times per week should be the norm. The more diligent you are, the faster your dog will learn and the more proficient he/she will become. After certification, you will need to keep training your dog to keep his/her skills sharp and become more proficient.

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