What expenses can I expect to incur by joining CATSAR?
In 2016, the SAR team, with the assistance of the CATSAR Auxiliary members, were able to raise enough funds to purchase most gear for new members needing assistance in meeting the minimum gear requirements. The main expenses are the cost of a handheld GPS and VHF Radio. A basic GPS (Garmin eTrex for example) can be purchased for less than $200 and will be more than adequate for SAR purposes. You can spend a considerable amount ($300-$500) for easier operation, more memory, color screens, etc., but none are necessary for the simple coordinate plotting and recording required on a mission. VHF radios are currently supplied to SAR members meeting some basic minimum requirements, from donated funds.
If donated funds are not available, building a pack with the recommended gear (refer to CATSAR Personal Equipment List) could be inexpensive or costly depending on how much stuff you already own, whether you want top of the line items, or are content to get it all at Wal-Mart. Occasionally, CATSAR has had gear donated to us which we make available for member use. Depending upon future fundraising efforts we hope to continue to assist new members with gear purchases.
The cost of fuel for your vehicle to travel to and from a mission is reimbursable by the State when you submit an original receipt with the required forms within 30 days of the mission’s end. CATSAR has the forms and can show you how to fill them out. Checks from Santa Fe may take 15-30 days after you send in the paperwork.