Urban Search and Rescue

Summary

Urban Search-and-Rescue Task Forces are supported by highly trained canines and canine handlers. All of FEMA’s US&R Task Forces have canine/handler teams, all of which are trained in urban search and rescue strategies and tactics. Each canine/handler team must pass a rigorous national certification in urban search and rescue. Canine/handler teams must be re-certified every three years in order to participate in search and rescue operations. The canine must be at least 18 months old to attempt the test. Most canines test after they are two years old—well-trained and physically and emotionally mature enough to do this job. For the handler, certification includes tests regarding search strategies and tactics, mapping, search and victim markings, briefing and debriefing skills, in addition to canine handling skills. For the disaster search canine, certification includes proper command control, agility skills, a focused bark alert to indicate a live find, and a willingness to persist to search for live victims in spite of possible extreme temperatures and animal, food and noise distractions. The canine must also be confident enough to search independently and must be able to negotiate slippery surfaces, balance wobbly objects underneath his feet and go through dark tunnels. The team tests on two large rubble piles for an unknown number of victims, implementing all of their knowledge, skills and abilities acquired from years of training. Teams that pass are some of the most highly trained canine resources in the country. Urban Search-and-Rescue Task Forces are supported by highly trained canines and canine handlers. All of FEMA’s US&R Task Forces have canine/handler teams, all of which are trained in urban search and rescue strategies and tactics. Each canine/handler team must pass a rigorous national certification in urban search and rescue. Canine/handler teams must be re-certified every three years in order to participate in search and rescue operations. The canine must be at least 18 months old to attempt the test. Most canines test after they are two years old—well-trained and physically and emotionally mature enough to do this job. For the handler, certification includes tests regarding search strategies and tactics, mapping, search and victim markings, briefing and debriefing skills, in addition to canine handling skills. For the disaster search canine, certification includes proper command control, agility skills, a focused bark alert to indicate a live find, and a willingness to persist to search for live victims in spite of possible extreme temperatures and animal, food and noise distractions. The canine must also be confident enough to search independently and must be able to negotiate slippery surfaces, balance wobbly objects underneath his feet and go through dark tunnels. The team tests on two large rubble piles for an unknown number of victims, implementing all of their knowledge, skills and abilities acquired from years of training. Teams that pass are some of the most highly trained canine resources in the country.


This group is for any FEMA, SUSAR or other disaster dog handlers interested in developing this tool to record training logs.  Please let us know if there are changes that could help you keep up with your training logs.

Owner

Doree

Doree has been training dogs for obedience, pet therapy and search & rescue for 17 years.  Two of her Border Collies have earned their CD, RN, RA titles in addition to being certified FEMA disaster canines.  Doree has worked with two different Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces as a Canine Search Specialist for a total of 13 years and was deployed with her canine partner Faith to hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Doree has taught at the Dog Scouts Mini Camp in Texas and the Dog Scouts Mini Camp in Maryland.    Two of her Border Collies have earned their IMPROV titles,...