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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are a few photos of me with my lab Hero taking the FEMA Canine Evaluation (formerly known as the FEMA Type I Advanced Evaluation) in Tennessee this past weekend. The evaluation consists of searching 3 rubble piles, which are 6,000-15,000 square feet in area and 6-10 feet in average height. There are 6 victims total distributed throughout the piles, as well as distractions (in this case there were bbq ribs, a dead coyote and previously-worn clothing). Each rubble pile has its own scenario. One is full-access (meaning you can walk all over it while your dog searches), one is limited access (meaning you can only walk the perimeter and stand at the "high point" while your dog searches) and one is no-access (meaning you can only go on the rubble to the location of the victim when you dog alerts).

Hero found all 6 of the victims (with no false alerts) and paid no attention to any of the distractions. So, that means we passed.

Sending Hero to search the no-access pile (I'm not allowed to leave that little box until he alerts):


Hero locates the victim on the no-access pile (I'm required to stay at the bottom of the pile until he alerts):
 

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Great job Konnie and Hero.

I know the time it takes to get mission ready so I appreciate your achievement.
Pad on the back for you and a bone for Hero.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
QUOTE DON:
I notice that there are a number of SAR organizatioins. Which is the best?
Don:
I'm not sure that I can answer that question. Various SAR organizations specialize in different things, so its tough to compare. There probably is no "best SAR organization." Rather, there are probably a lot of good ones, a lot of mediocre ones and a lot of bad ones.

I think the best SAR organizations are those that do the following at a minimum:

-Work in an area where their services are needed (these days there seems to be a volunteer SAR group for every county - is this really necessary??)
-View SAR work as a serious and professional volunteer dedication rather than a weekend hobby or club
-Screen potential members (background checks as well as check for mental and physical suitability for their particular SAR discipline)
-Put a lot of effort into selecting appropriate canines for the work (a SAR dog is a tool for a life-or-death job, not just the family pet looking for something fun to do)
-Require/provide appropriate training for their members
-Have a realistic evaluation for certification and re-evaluate canine/handler teams on a regular basis
-Train with LE/FD or whoever else might be in charge of searches in their area
-Only respond to missions that they are called out to by LE/FD
-Have a professional attitude
-Require all members and the team in general to follow a standard SAR code of ethics

I'm sure others here could add more. I hope this answers your questions and that I didn't go off on a tangent here :lol:
 

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konnie, congrats to both yourself and hero (an awesome name for a
SAR dog, BTW :) ).

i kinda hope all you 2 ever have to do is train to stay sharp, but it's wonderful to know that there are ppl and dogs out there like you guys, just in case :cry: ......
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
an awesome name for a SAR dog, BTW ).
Thanks! Hero's name was given to him by my then 14-year old step-daughter when he was a puppy. I always feel kind of sheepish about it - seems a bit presumptious to me to call my own dog Hero. Funny thing is, the name doesn't really fit him either. He's a small lab - 60 lbs. soaking wet - and he's a complete goofball. If anybody approaches to pet him, his whole body wiggles and he goes into "cat mode," rubbing up against people. Its embarrassing really. Labs!
 

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Really nice work, he's a good dog. I wish we here in Canada, more specifically around my area had a FEMA program and training/testing. Sometimes I read that FEMA is doing testing not too far off, but I never had a dog that ready before. Your doing great.
 

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Congratulations Konnie! As an aspiring newbie in k9SAR, the task seem so daunting at times so it's inspiring to read about a team making it. How long did it take you and Hero to train for certification?
 
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