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SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) has adopted a requirement that all members obtain a photographic identification card. This card is to be worn when responding to any incident or service request. In 2007, the SARSAV Board of Directors adopted a motion to require these for all members, and I personally maintain the ID card program on behalf of SARSAV.


SARSAV will keep track of the issuance and expiry of these photo ID cards. As well, SARSAV will make available ID validation lists to relevant police forces and public safety agencies so that the validity of the bearer can be verified by Incident Commanders in the field.


Card Features

The photo ID card is printed using tamper-resistant dye sublimation technology on a PVC (plastic) card. Each SARSAV volunteer is assigned a unique ID number, and this is printed on the front of the card in both classic text as well as machine-readable barcode fonts. This barcode feature will allow volunteers to swipe in and out of incidents in the future when barcode readers are setup.


In case of loss, a return address to Saskatchewan Corrections and Public Safety (CPSP) is provided on the rear of the card.



The photo ID card itself expires December 31st of the 7th year after issue. For example, for a card issued in May of 2010, the expiry date of the card would be December 31st, 2017.


A yearly renewal is also required to keep the card valid. This sticker is placed on the front of the card, and is valid for the calendar year (January 1st to December 31st). Each renewal sticker has a unique identification number associated with it, and must be paired with the proper SARSAV membership ID in order to be a valid combination. Renewal stickers are available for the following year starting on October 1st, and cards issued after October 1st will be valid until the end of the following year.


Authority to Order

To maintain the integrity of the SARSAV photo ID program and to minimize chances of fraudulent cards being issued, requests for ID cards must come from either the President of a SARSAV chapter, or a designated official within the chapter. Initial contact should always be initiated from the chapter President (who should be listed on the SARSAV website as the official contact), who may then designate an alternate.


A number of SARSAV chapters have decided to only issue photo ID cards to volunteers who have successfully completed a criminal records background check (with additional attention paid to children/vulnerable sector offenses). This is left at chapter discretion, but is HIGHLY encouraged.


Photo Requirements

Photos should be submitted in electronic form, either through email or supplied on a transportable medium such as CD-ROM or USB flash drive. Disks or drives can be returned when cards are shipped. Photos can also be provided via an online cloud drive (either yours or mine).


Photos MUST be taken within 1 year of submission to get an ID card printed. Much like a criminal records check, they must be kept current.


The best format is a colour JPEG file, a minimum size of 160KB and preferred maximum of 20MB. Files sized smaller than 160KB are generally not clear enough, and files larger than 4MB are overkill (though still accepted!).


Photos must be in CLEAR focus (this is sometimes a problem when using smartphones). Also avoid putting subject right up to a wall when taking their photo, as the camera flash may cause harsh shadows behind their head. 


Seriously - stand at least a full step away from any backdrop. No headware (i.e. caps) allowed, with the exception of Charter-protected religious or cultural headwear that is worn daily by the volunteer. The face and hairline should be visible with no shadows.


Each file should be named for the person in the picture in the format first name DOT surname (i.e. firstname.lastname.jpg). Alternate file formats other than JPEG (or even printed photos) can be considered. Please contact me directly for more information. When emailing photos, it is highly recommended that the email contain the complete list of members who are getting photo ID cards, just to serve as a double-check on the spelling.

One more time - PLEASE double check the spelling!!! This is the most common error encountered.


ID cards are printed with the names in ALL CAPITALS, and will automatically extend onto a second line for very long names.


Photos should only have one person in them, and generally follow the guidelines for a passport photo as show above. Shadows on the face are not acceptable. Facial expressions should be neutral (no smiling), and square to the camera (no profile shots). Do not overly crop the photo - please leave that to me. If the person's hair is touching (or close to touching) the margins of the photo - it will not be accepted.



These ID cards are used to identify properly trained volunteers at SARSAV events. These may be missing person searches, civil emergencies, or even crime scenes. It is important that the photo quality be sufficient for law enforcement personnel to use them as a means of identification. Please ensure that only high-quality photos are submitted. If it's blurry, out of focus, has substantial shadowing, or doesn't meet the other requirements, the photos will be rejected.


Photo Submission Checklist

  • Has the photo been taken within the previous 12 months? (Note - actual passport photos only have a 6 month tolerance)

  • Is the photo submitted as taken, with no editing (including colour, contrast, or cropping near the face)?

  • "Busy" backgrounds should be replaced, not cropped out. The background should be flat with no details, objects, etc. visible within the photo.

  • Is the background well contrasted with the subject? Plain white or lighter coloured backgrounds are preferred. Avoid reflective or glossy backgrounds - they should be matte.

  • Is the volunteer the ONLY person in the photo?

  • Does the photo meet passport requirements for framing and space around the face?

  • Is the photo clear of any shadows on the face or neck, and no shadows behind the subject (caused by standing too close to the background)?

  • Is the facial expression neutral (no smiling), with mouth closed?

  • Has all headwear been removed?

  • If glasses are worn, is the photo free of glare?

  • Is the submission file named firstname.surname.jpg (or another mutually agreed-upon format)?

  • Does the file size meet the minimum requirements? With today's ease of sending larger photos, bigger is better!

  • If emailing, are the photos "attached as files" to the email, and not inserted into email body (which substantially reduces the quality)?

Renewal Requirements

Photo ID cards require a yearly renewal sticker to remain valid. It is the chapter's responsibility to request renewal stickers. As mentioned above, these are available starting October 1st for the following year.


When making this request, please submit your list of members who will be renewing, and ideally include their SARSAV ID numbers. When the renewal stickers are issued, there will be an accompanying list of which sticker belongs with each SARSAV ID.


Photo ID cards themselves expire at the end of the 7th year after issue, and a new photo must be submitted. A new card will be issued, but the SARSAV ID number will remain. Volunteers who change their name due to marital status should be encouraged to obtain a new card (requiring a new photo if it is older than one year).


ExpressPost Regional and tracked parcel post are used for secure transport of photo ID cards, unless other arrangements are made. Personal transfers and pickups are available when practical.


 I am providing the administration of the photo-ID program on a volunteer basis. The costs for supplies are charged on a break-even basis. SARSAV has subsidized the cost of some of the consumable supplies to help minimize costs to the chapters.


Front of Card

Front of Card

Back of Card

Back of Card


Photo Requirements

Photo layout guideline

Photos must adhere to standard passport photo requirements. The face must be clearly visible and be sized 1/3 to 1/2 the width and height of the photo. There should be no shadows on the face. The upper part of the shoulders should be visible. The face must not fill more than 2/3rds of the horizontal space. Full guidelines can be found at the official website.