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I am familiar with it, yes. I also visit thier web page regularly. One can review thier latest findings and make comments. I know a few of the people on the committee, a couple of them personally. I do believe they mean well. Of course the proof is always in the pudding. I've always felt, in the law enforcement arena, there should be an ageed upon standard. Not be confused with a standard training method, but certainly a standard measurement. This could be the beginning.

DFrost
 

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I just briefly viewed the swgdog website. I think its an idealistic concept, but hey, at least somebody is trying to streamline this stuff. Boy do they have their work cut out for them!

So, for the detector dog folks on this forum:

What did you think of the Terminology section? I was confused. There's no rhyme or reason behind the words they selected to define. There's some words relating to genetics, some to training techniques and some that were very general (such as the definition for "dog"). They weren't organized in any way. Also, there were some terms that just seemed completely out of place. For example, "emergency stop," which is a FEMA term for a specific exercise was defined. None of the other FEMA exercises were defined. I hope they plan to categorize the terminology somehow and I hope they plan to add a lot more. I did notice that Terminology 1a was "finalized." Gee, I sure hope that's a typo.

The next section I had time to peruse was the Selection of Dogs. It appears that this is in draft form? Hope so. The major problem I see so far is that there is no distinction made for the different detection disciplines. A good narcotics detection dog may not be a good USAR dog and vice versa. Also, definitions are lacking (even when you reference the terminology section). And, perhaps most importantly, the evaluation is completely subjective. If you ask 10 people to define "an excellent retrieve/hunt drive on a hidden/thrown object," you'll get 10 different answers. And, there's a lot missing if they're going to suggest guidelines for selecting a USAR dog too. Nowhere on there did I notice anything about testing a dogs natural agility on unstable surfaces (like a huge rubble pile for instance). For reference, we typically use the following selection test (which is still a little subjective, but a lot less so than the swgdog one): http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/training/dog_sreening.pdf

And finally, after reading the FAQs, I noticed that they plan to create certification guidelines for SAR dogs too. FEMA spent years and years developing and revising their certification guidelines. Although they're far from perfect, they seem to work pretty well. No sense reinventing the wheel!

Like I said, I think their idea is pretty decent. However, its really a huge task and they have a long long long way to go! I do plan to submit comments to them.

What does everybody else think?
 

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Speaking for the PSD world, I believe this will be a monumental if not an impossible task. I for one credit them for trying! Unless the FED's decide to step in and back a national standard for this field at least, things will continue as is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the process is a LOT more open than what is going on with NASAR working to become the SOLE credentialing agency for the NIMs criteria !!! ......... which of course impacts cross-jurisdictional activities.

I think FEMA teams would be exempted, but NASAR has and are drafting K9 disaster certification stadards.

There has been a lot of controvery there in part due to the lack of openess with no availability for public input, and concerns about the knowledge and experience base of those making the decisions as well as credentials of evaluators ......

I *heard* FEMA handlers have to to the SARII now, and have that blasted SAR II pack with the plethora of useless gear; is that really true or just heresay?
 

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QUOTE NANCY: "I *heard* FEMA handlers have to to the SARII now, and have that blasted SAR II pack with the plethora of useless gear; is that really true or just heresay?END QUOTE

Must have just been a rumor. Among the zillions of FEMA classes we are required to take (from WMD to IC to tent construction), we are required to complete the week-long FEMA Canine Search Specialist Course, pass an in-house FSA (Foundation Skills Assessment - which was formerly our Basic/Type II Eval.) and then pass the Certification Evaluation (which was formerly our Advanced/Type I Eval.) to be deployable. We are not required to take any NASAR courses. Nobody checks our pack when we take these search tests either (whew!). I typically just carry water, flagging tape, powder, etc. during an eval.

To view our DSCREP (Disaster Search Canine Readiness Evaluation Process), you can go here:
http://www.disasterdog.org/forms/policies/DSCREP_january_2006.pdf

I did hear about NASAR creating disaster standards. I think that's a fine idea (especially since only FEMA handlers can take the FEMA tests), but I'm interested to see what they come up with. Most groups who create their own disaster standards use watered down versions of FEMA's. To me, that's just plain crap. As it is, FEMA's standards are pretty simplistic. To say a dog is qualified to do disaster search after passing something more basic than FEMA's Certification Evaluation is completely ridiculous.

Can you tell I have pretty strong opinions on this? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Our group is not even "going there" Disaster is a highly specialized and dangerous discipline.

I was amazed at the number of folks who self-deployed to Katrina and cringe at the possible quality issues ..... and know that is already a problem with disasters.

To me, local wilderness teams should be prepared for small structural issues (e.g., tornados), inland flooding (which SHOULD have specialized training) and NOT major structural collapse!

I am not sure even of the wisdom in training one dog in both Wilderness and Disaster

The K9 disaster standards as written are here:

http://www.nasar.org/nasar/specialty_fields.php

The strategic plan is here:

http://www.nasar.org/nasar/about_us.php
 

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Thanks for posting the links to the NASAR disaster eval.

Ugggh...Its full of issues. For one, it doesn't specify how large the search area is (at least I couldn't find any mention of it). To me, that's a pretty important thing to define. And, 30 mins to find 2 people? It had better be a huge search area!

It is a much-watered down version of the FEMA test, but if its the only thing out there for non-FEMA handlers, then I guess you gotta make do with what's out there (cringe). For whatever its worth, I would also suggest anybody who takes that test also spend a ton of time working more realistic search problems.

QUOTE NANCY: "I was amazed at the number of folks who self-deployed to Katrina and cringe at the possible quality issues ..... and know that is already a problem with disasters.: END QUOTE.

Oh boy, Nancy, don't even get me started on people who self deploy! Y'all don't need to hear me rant and rave about that!

Do you guys have a state USAR team in SC? I thought I heard that you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There is a state USAR team, don't really know much about it ... know I should

There is also a dog handler in Hilton Head who came down from, I think, NJ Task Force I who is involved. I don't know much about him either.
 

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I'm not all that familiar with sport, however in law enforcement, we've needed a standardized certification for years. I know SAR has done some work, but they are still in the same boat we are. There is no mandatory certification out there. We do have several organizations such as USPCA, NAPWDA, NADDA among others. I'm a member of a couple, but their certification is not mandatory. The problem is bigger than it looks, as far as standardization goes. Take for instance the federal government. You have 4 major users of dogs. Secret Service, TSA, ATF and Customs. In truth, the four all have their own schools, thier own certification standards and none of the four, in reality, get along. TSA, arguably, has the toughest standards for explosives detection. They all have representatives on the SWG, however, unless there is not only a consensus, but a mandate from someone with the power to tell all 4 agencies they will abide by the decision of SWG or some other group, it will be business as usual. Now throw 50 states and a multitude of city and county law enforcement agencies into the mix. If that doesn't muddy the waters enough you must now think of all the vendors that train and sell to law enforcement. I saw what an attempt in my own state did several years ago. An unbelieveable amount of state representatives and other "influential" people involved and the state is still without a mandatory certification. I too hope something comes of it. I think they have a good representation of people on the committee, certainly some experienced ones, but whose going to be top dog. Ahhh yes, that is the question.

DFrost
 

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QUOTE DAVID: "SAR has done some work, but they are still in the same boat we are. There is no mandatory certification out there."

I am a huge proponent of some sort of unified, mandatory certification for all disciplines of volunteer SAR. If SWGDOG can put together something like that....wow, think of the impact it would have!

Of course, writing up a certification/evaluation standard is one thing. Making it mandatory in some way is another thing. And, of course, certifying evaluators and making sure folks stick to the standard when testing is yet another issue.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that something good will come of SWGDOG's efforts.
 

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What does everybody else think?[/quote]

Konnie,
I just picked up this post from early july, so a bit late, but I wanted to make a small observation.
Having been involved in SAR and FEMA as well as protection work I have come to the conclusion that if you have too much of an academic overtone, it tends to confuse and stagnate the practical part of the work we do. There is always a variable in training of dogs (and humans) and a practical application can't always come off the written pages.
Hope this makes sense.
Rob
 

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<<<and a practical application can't always come off the written pages.>>

While I don't disagree with that, there still are areas where the language can be standardized and where a measurement of proficiency can be objectively applied. For example: The dog will release the bite on command. It's to the point, states the required behavior and the measurement is; the dog either did or it didn't.

DFrost
 

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David Frost said:
<<<and a practical application can't always come off the written pages.>>

While I don't disagree with that, there still are areas where the language can be standardized and where a measurement of proficiency can be objectively applied. For example: The dog will release the bite on command. It's to the point, states the required behavior and the measurement is; the dog either did or it didn't.

DFrost
I am with you!

Rob
 

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Ughhh, these links either will not open or tell me the page cannot be found.....

I have to say that I am not a huge NASAR fan at all. There is so many politics going on within the organization that it frustrates me.

Also, I am a member, however, I am frustrated that I cannot test my dog to their testing criteria because I have not taken "NASAR" classes. I have all of the certification criteria met through other means and they will not recognize that.
Why should I spend the money to take their courses when I already have them?
That is money better spent elsewhere and not wasting it on doubling up.

Secondly, I was at a seminar where there was NASAR certs going on and two of the "evaluators and testers" did not have nor have they ever had a certified dog in the discipline they were testing.

Therefore, my question is, How can they do that? If you have never worked, trained or certified a dog in a discipline, how can you become able to test others that work their asses off to become a certifiable and reliable team?
You can read all you want, but actually putting it to a dog is totally different.

Well, I am off to try and open those again.....

Makes absolutely no sense to me at all.
 

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Did the Google thing.....no dice, tells me page cannot be found.....is anyone else having trouble opening them???? :)
 
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