Hey everyone!


I am currently starting the process of creating a Non-Profit Volunteer Search and Rescue Organization in Los Angeles County. I know most of the basics when it comes to what I need, but any advice or facts or info you can share with me is a plus!!!! I could use any help I could get. Also looking for grants/funding. If you know were i can apply for a grant or funding PLEASE let me know!!!




I am looking for any kinda of help. from advice and expirence to training and equipment. nothing goes unread or unappreciated!!!1





Stay Safe!


Marc Hurwitz



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What are your plans for liability and workmens comp insurance?
thats somthing that i am going to need help with. any advice?
Goodluck brother hope it works out well for you!!!!
Why start a group, are there not already USAR teams in California, especially LA County area? What type of team are you actually looking at trying to start? Even if you do start a group, how do you receive the training and how are you going to maintain that level of training? How do you plan to even get equipment? What are the plans for interacting and operating with established teams?

If looking at some type of USAR team, the cost alone in starting a team will easily outweigh the grants out there. In many cases there are matching type of grants where the requestor has to match a certain amount of money. Secondly, there are established teams already in the area, why is there a need for a volunteer team? Is there really a need for redundancy?

It is fine to be eager, but I don't think you really understand the gravity and the reality of what you are looking to establish here, especially when you are 17 and my guess is not even established with a fire department. Also, as for non-profit, that really is what established teams are, non-profit.
I have seen people attempt to start "specialty groups" around my way, be it RIT, trench, collapse as a volunteer group. Usually it is people who can't get on an established municpality, county or federal team. Not to say this is the case with you. Just saying I have seen this happen and then nobody will call upon them due to the fact that there are already established local, municipal or federal teams that are well funded, well trained and operating with the proper liability insurance.
We attempted to do just that in North Texas in 1996-1998 (before fed USAR teams existed). We had our charter, funding, personnel and even liability insurance in place, but could not get approval from county politicians to let us operate. Nobody would contract with us. We had to abandon everything. Very sad. Best of luck with the political aspect of your endeavor. It will likely be the most difficult.
I know completely what I am getting into. My family has started or has helped to start over 15 different non-profits. When it comes to search and rescue in Los Angeles County, we have the local Fire Departments and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. They all have SAR groups and all really know what they are doing, but do to budget cuts from the county, units are being browned out, or half staffed.

Working with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, I became enthroled with search and rescue. Its my passion within my passion.

I am trying to start up (with some fellow explorers and SAR specialists from the LAFD and LASD) a Mountian, Wilderness, and Urban search and rescue group. I am trying to base it off of CAL-ESAR (a state funded agency that is an Explorer Search and Rescue Group) up in Northern California.

When it comes to training, I have several sources. The CMC Rescue School and NorCal Training, for the school aspect of it. I have some friends in the LAFD and the LASD who specialize in search and rescue and they are willing to do training and activites with us as well.

About finacing, I have found several groups that donate/give grants to non-profits within the boundries of Public Safety or Human Welfare. Also, being in Los Angeles, (Not trying to sound stuck up or better then anyone) I know people such as producers and the like. One of my producer friends told me that if we get to be a non-profit, when she raises money for her next movie, we will be the donation group (a portion of what they raise goes to us).

When it come to equipment, I have talked with my friends in Search and Rescue and they have given me the basics of what I need. I have a whole budget plan including equipment, training, uniforms and just about everything else.

Why Duplicate? I am not duplicating in anyway. Sure, there are Search and Rescue groups within departments, but no all volunteer groups. Last night Los Angeles County was rocked by a medium 4.4 earth quake. Today, it just so happense that me and a friend of mine (also was an explorer and boy scout and working with me very hard on this group) were on the phone with the LAFD, talking to them about mutual aid agreements. They were all for it. They said that even though the earthquake last night wasn't huge its was still a reminder of what kind of world we live in. And with the recent closing of stations and equipment, they said they would be all for a mutual aid agreement. But, because we are not officialy a non-profit yet, or have the equipment, they cant say yes or no. All they can tell us is that its a great idea and that they are very interested. Through out this upcoming week I am going to be on the phone and meeting with different departments about mutual aid and how we could start to set it up.

I am very eager. Not going to lie. I do know the gravity and the reality of what I am trying to start. But, I have a whole family behind me, that has alot of expirence in starting up non-profits and community oriented groups. I know this is no small task, and I didn't think this would be, but I love taking on big projects. This is for sure my biggest but I am willing to tackle whatever is thrown at me and over come any obbsitcal. And also, i know what non-profit means. It means there is no money for the services we render. I know that, and if I wanted to start up another buisness making company, I would have (a few friends and I started up a clothing company that has really taken off. SASTO Clothing), but I wanted to do a non-profit. So I choose somthing I love to do. Help people.

If you want, I can send you my Non-profit over view so you can see how serious I am.


Thanks so much for the positive encouragement!


Thanks for the encouragement.

Good luck to ya Marc. Sounds like you know whatcha wanna do, don't let the the negative stuff getcha down just keep your head up and you'll go far.
Thats my plan!

Thanks for the encouragement! i need it!


I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor! I do have to voice my opinion about all the negative comments you have received...

I am completely appalled!!! I cannot believe that so many have had something negative to say about your BIG dreams and your even BIGGER goals. I, for one, have found that when someone is so passionate about something, win or lose, pass or fail, they should be commended for their efforts and initiative to undertake such a task. After reading these comments, I get the feeling that some don't like change (or they just don't want to share their toys in the sand box). Well, change is inevitable in our profession. With the economy in the state that it is in and cities, counties and the federal government making cuts left and right, we are always hit the hardest, but the VOLUNTEERS always find a way.

I applaude you, your family and your friends for caring so much for your community! Kudos to you! Take care, stay safe and keep us up-to-date with your progress. ~Tammy

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