Sierra Rescue is, from my experience, absolutely top notch. My main instructor, Don Lester, is quite simply an amazing human being. Is there anything he hasn’t done? He has done rescue in about every disaster around the globe. But none of that would matter if he weren’t able to teach. And that is what makes him exceptional—he can recognize how people learn differently and will adjust accordingly. Both Don and Julie Munger were great about making sure the course was pertinent to everyone’s needs. There were firefighters that needed the course for their job. There were guys that wanted a leg up when applying to various rescue-related jobs. Then there was me, a pudgy female city-slicker at the end of her 40’s that just wanted to be able to save animals as part of a Disaster Animal Response Team. Don was able to give the fire guys “real world” info while also showing the options and new methods that the “old guard” might not be hip to. But was also able to relate everything to animal rescue. Julie, who does a lot of large animal rescue, even brought out her (adorable) pup Wilma so I could run some scenarios with her— which Julie also made sure the rest of the class knew how to do— while also giving them info about the PET act which is pertinent to all rescuers/firefighters now.
The Swiftwater class was my first time in a rapid river and I was even less experienced in this realm that I was with rope rescue— but I never once felt unsafe. Nor did I feel any pressure to take part in any task that I thought was above my skill level. Multiple people had incorrect gear and we were all accommodated by Don giving us gear from his stash.
About the gear— it is in tip-top shape. Safety checks are mandatory for absolutely everything, which is, of course, as it should be.
The office & admin respond quickly to both phone and email and were pleasant while doing so. They give you all the instruction you need to get where you need to go, stuff to bring, things that are optional, etc.
It’s pretty amazing how well they accommodated everyone’s skill levels. I was pooped at the end of the day but so were all the super-strong firemen. We were all challenged, but at levels that were appropriate to each of us.
On top of that, Julie and Don are just fun, smart, good folks that are a blast to be around.
An A+ organization for sure. I flew out from NYC to California to take these classes, and I have absolutely no regrets. Well worth it!... See MoreSee Less
The WFR course was everything I ever expected and MORE! The dynamic between my instructors was balanced, informational, and entertaining! Last but not least, the student bonding was incredible! Definitely an experience I’ll never forget! Love to Sierra Rescue!... See MoreSee Less
There are few people on each as dedicated to their craft as Julie Munger and Abigail Polsby. They are rewriting the book on rescue. Practical, pertinent and to the point... I highly recommend their classes!
I took Rescue 3 International´s SRT-I (Swiftwater Rescue Technician - Unit 1™) Course back in August 2009 through Sierra Rescue (Rescue 3 West) in Kern River, California. Excellent course and outstanding instructor. Recommended to all career open water lifeguards and water rescue firefighters who might have to deal with swiftwater/flood rescues.... See MoreSee Less
Top notch training! I attended a swift water rescue course in Coloma, CA and my instructor was Liam O'Neil. His experiments and attention to detail is unparalleled. Highly recommend Sierra Rescue.... See MoreSee Less
Just finished their 72 hour Wilderness First Respondercourse with Don Lester and Liam Oniell. Who are Great instructors who know there stuff. A great investment for anyone who works in the outdoors, travels in the outdoors or lives in a remote area.... See MoreSee Less
Awesome Course! Our Instructor Don Lester didn't miss a beat. The man is knowledgeable, patient and a high functioning. This was one of the most well orchestrated courses that I've had the opportunity to take part in. I would recommend Sierra Rescue and Don to any of my friends in the rescue field. Thanks again for the 1st class training!... See MoreSee Less
The best this side of the Missisipi. The most professional training you'll ever get in the world! Sierra Rescue lives and breaths it. Train hard, train well and train often! Go Julie!!!... See MoreSee Less
I've had instruction in so many fields--business school, law school, climbing instruction--and I can unequivocally say that Julie with Sierra Rescue is the best instructor I've ever had. Top notch program!!... See MoreSee Less