Man's unquenchable thirst for adventure and desire to explore new and sometimes dangerous terrain periodically will lead him into trouble. When this occurs in the greater Palm Springs area, there is an organization known as The Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue (PSMP-SAR) to come to his or her aid.
Founded in 1949 after several hastily organized rescues resulted in the loss of equipment and injury to the improperly equipped rescuers and their horses, the Chief of Police formally organized a volunteer search and rescue unit. This prestigious organization has served as the honor guard for President Eisenhower, and worked in conjunction with the Palm Springs Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management as law enforcement in Tahquitz Canyon since 1968. The hard work and dedication to professionalism has even earned this organization a spot on the national show Rescue 911 in February of 1995.
Over the nearly 50 years of existence they have performed over 1,000 technical rescues in the mountains surrounding the greater Palm Springs area. These rescues are performed by horseback, hiking, and helicopter. As the difficulty of the rescues increase and the population of the city has grown, PSMP-SAR has evolved into a technical rock rescue organization.
In order to continue to function as one of the finest volunteer search and rescue organizations in Southern California, members must continually undergo extensive training in the classroom, on the rocks, and in the helicopters. Members are required to maintain proficiency in first aid, rappelling, rock climbing, and law enforcement skills. Each member is a trained technical rope rescuer.
Funding for PSMP-SAR is derived primarily from private donation and fund raising. Each member is responsible for providing their own personal gear at a cost of nearly $2,000 per member. Members must also maintain their own gear as well as the unit's $50,000 worth of rescue equipment and the four vehicle fleet. Members, as a unit, spend approximately 8,000 hours annually on meetings, training, and administration, not to mention the countless hours on the hill during rescue missions. With a $2,000 average cost for each rescue, PSMP-SAR needs the public's support to defray the costs of operation. If you want to support PSMP-SAR with your tax deductible donation, please mail to the address below.
PSMP-SAR is always looking for enthusiastic men and women willing to serve the community in a different and exciting way. Members of this dedicated organization are required to pass an extensive background investigation and be in good physical condition. Once accepted as a trainee, you will be required to undergo an 18-month training period where your first aid, rope, helicopter, and other skills will be honed.
If you are interested in joining PSMP-SAR, you are welcome to attend a meeting. For the time and location of their next meeting, you may contact PSMP-SAR at (760) 778-8470, or you may speak with an officer at our VillageFest booth on Thursday nights, downtown Palm Springs.
Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone (760) 778-8470
Sgt. Frank Guarino
Lt. Gustavo Araiza
Before you go hiking, check out these HIKING TIPS from the PSMP-SAR!
The Palm Springs Mounted Police Search and Rescue is proud to serve the residents and visitors of the greater Palm Springs area and would like to remind you whenever you go hiking to follow these tips:
Always hike in an approved, open area.
These areas are usually monitored to insure that trails are well-marked and safe to use.
Be prepared for the trip.
Take lots of water, even when it's cold out. Your body needs to replenish its water supply lost through sweating. Pack warm clothes for evenings even in the summer. Pack enough supplies to "get you through" should you become lost or injured during your "adventure."
Never hike alone.
If you should become injured and can no longer travel, a hiking partner can go for help. Remember, PSMP-SAR doesn't get the "golden hour" to perform their rescues. It will usually take your hiking partner that long to get to a phone. Consider carrying a cellular phone just in case.
Wear the right shoes.
Hiking in thongs, sandals, or other slippery-soled shoes has spelled disaster for many of the victims rescued by PSMP-SAR.
Even the most experienced hikers run into elements that overcome them. tell someone where you are going, when you expect to get back, how long you will be gone, what you are wearing, and who is going with you. Make sure the person you tell will be around to make sure you made it back.