American Patriot K9 Training

Matthew T. Zarrella (401) 226-1631
 

AMERICAN PATRIOT K-9 TRAINING LLC

SEARCH AND RESCUE STANDARDS

 PURPOSE

These standards and testing procedures have been created with the purpose of providing independent performance evaluations.  The standards and testing procedures will provide an opportunity for the search and rescue professional to gain evaluation of their canine’s ability and proficiency in the discipline tested.

The use of an e-collar shall not be permitted for any phase of testing.

Certifications are valid for two years with the exception of the Type I Disaster live and Type I Disaster Recovery Search evaluations.

PREREQUISITES

Search work is an exhausting experience for both dog and handler, the following prerequisites are required in order to test:

  1. The canine must be at least 12 months of age at the time of certification testing.
  2. The canine must be in good health and proof of vaccinations provided at the time of testing.
  3. The canine must be of sound physical structure and temperament.
  4. The canine must be of adequate strength and size to negotiate the terrain. 
  5. The canine must be frendly and well mannered
  6. The handler must produce written training records in the discipline that they are testing.
  7. The handler at the time of certification testing should be in good health.
  8. The handler must produce proof of certification in basic first aid or higher medical training. 
  9. The handler must produce proof of certification in CPR.
  10. The handler must produce written documentation of land navigation/orienteering training
  11.  The handler must produce written documentation of having completed IS-100 “Introduction to Incident Command  System” and IS-700 “National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction”.
  12.  The handler must produce written documentation of having completed an awareness course in “Crime Scene    Preservation”.
  13. For air scent and land cadaver scent disciplines, the handler must pass a knowledge based written testing with a score of 80% or higher in the area in which they will certify.
  14. Handlers having taken and passed the written test are not required to take it for a re-certification. 
  15. The canine and handler must pass the SAR OBEDIENCE CONTROL EVALUATION prior to testing in any discipline. **

** This does not apply to a canine testing in on lead trailing or Type I, Type II Disaster Search or Disaster Recovery Search.

SAR OBEDIENCE CONTROL EVALUATION

The purpose of this testing is to ensure that the canine handler has reasonable control over their canine to perform search and rescue functions.  This test shall be administered to the canine team every two years as part of the recertification process.  The test is not required if the same canine team attempts another certification in another scent discipline within the same two year period unless the evaluator determines otherwise. 

The canine and handler must pass this evaluation prior to testing in any search area except on lead trailing or Type I and Type II disaster live or disaster recovery search.

The canine must perform the following to the satisfaction of the evaluator:

  1. Heeling phase:  The heeling will be done either on or off leash and will include (2) right turns (2) left turns and (2) about face turns.  This will include a slow, normal and fast pace.  The order of events is up to the evaluator.
  2. Down/Stay phase:  The canine will be placed in a down position off lead.  The handler will then move away a distance of approximately 20 feet while holding a conversation with another person for a period of five minutes.  If the canine moves more than one body length from the stay position, that canine will be removed from the test. 
  3. Come phase:  The canine will come when called from a down-stay (Off lead).
  4. Vehicle Load phase:  
  • The canine will load into a vehicle on command (Off lead).
  •  The canine will allow a stranger to take the canine from the handler on lead and load him/her into it's vehicle.

     5.  Plank phase:  The canine will walk over a 2" x 12" x 8' board suspended between two 2' x 2' platforms at least 24" but no more than 36" off the ground without falling (off lead).  A similar catwalk may be used at the discretion of the evaluator. 

 SAR DOG DISCIPLINE TESTING


 SAR TRAILING TEST:

PURPOSE:  

To establish a minimum level of proficiency and reliability for dogs used in scent discrimination trailing for missing and lost persons.

NEED:  

The canine team is required to demonstrate their ability to follow an aged, realistic trail to locate and identify the subjec(s). 

AGE OF TRAIL:  

The trail shall be not less than twelve (12) hours and no more than twenty four (24) hours old.

LENGTH OF TRAIL:

The trail shall be not less than one mile or more than 1.5 miles.  The trail shall follow a wandering pattern and include a minimum of seven (7) changes in direction.

TRAIL LAYERS:  

The trail should be set by two or more individuals.  If a minimum of two subjects are not available, the trail may be set by one person as long as there are two subjects at the end for scent discrimination. 

TERRAIN:  

The terrain shall be either uban, rural or a combination of both.  The trail shall travel a variety of surfaces which may include pavement, grass (field), foot trails, water hazard and/or wooded areas.  If the evaluation is not subject to foot traffic, two deliberate fresh cross trails will be set just prior to the commencement of the evaluation.

SCENT MATERIAL:  

The handler will be provided with bagged scent material from one of the trail layers.  The handler will not know the identity of the owner.

TIME:  

The team must locate the trail layer in a reasonable amount of time exitibing handler strategy and search skills.  The handler must articulate the dog’s indication of the proper subject to the evaluator prior to the start of the trail.  The team must follow the path taken by the subject, giving consideration to the weather conditions, wind direction and traffic.  The handler must advise the evaluator of the location of the victim using mapping/GPS technology.   Handler must complete a SAR 111 form or equivalent search report.

EVALUATION:  

Evaluation is Pass/Fail.  The dog must identify the subject at the end of the trail.

NOTE:  Certification is valid for two years upon receiving a PASS evaluation.

 

WILDERNESS SEARCH 40-ACRE TEST:

 PURPOSE:

To establish a minimum level of proficiency and reliability for dogs used in Area or Wilderness searches for missing and lost persons. 

NEEDS:

The canine team is required to demonstrate their consistent ability to detect and locate subjects in an area of land of approximately forty (40) acres with moderate to difficult terrain.

SUBJECTS:

There will be at least one (1) but no more than two (2) human subjects placed in the search area and hidden from sight at least one hour prior to the test.  Subjects will remain silent during the test. 

TIME:

 The dog and handler have a maximum of two (2) hours to locate the subject(s).  The evaluator may extend the time limit based on weather and terrain conditions. 

SCENT ARTICLES:

Scent articles may be used but must be requested by the handler prior to the test set up.

 

TEST:

 1.  The canine must locate each subject placed.  

 2.  The canine must have a trained indication behavior indicating to the handler and evaluator that it has located the victim.  This behavior shall be described to the evaluator prior to the beginning of the test.

 3.  The handler must advise the evaluator of the search strategy they will employ prior to beginning the test.  This strategy should change as needed during the test.

 4.  The handler must adequately cover the area.

 5.  The handler must advise the evaluator of the location of the victim using mapping/UTM GPS technology.

 6.  The handler must complete a SAR 111 form or equivalent search report. 

 

CERTIFICATION:

Certification is valid for two years upon receiving a passing score.

NOTE:

It is granted that personnel assigned to this type of search are fully aware of what minimum equipment they need to sustain themselves and their dog (s) in the wilderness for a 24 hour operational period.

 

WILDERNESS SEARCH - 160 ACRE TEST: 

 PURPOSE:

To establish a minimum level of proficiency and reliability for dogs used in Area or Wilderness searches for missing and lost persons.

NEEDS:

The canine team is required to demonstrate their consistent ability to detect and locate subjects in an area of land of approximately one hundred and sixty (160) acres with moderate to difficult terrain.  

SUBJECTS:

There will be at least two (2) but no more than three (3) human subjects placed in the search area and hidden from sight.  Subjects will remain silent during the test.  

                                                                                          TIME:

 The dog and handler will have a maximum of six (6) hours to locate the subjects.  The evaluator may extend the time limit based on weather and terrain conditions. 

SCENT ARTICLES:

Scent articles may be used but must be requested by the handler prior to the test set up.

 

TEST:

 1.  The dog must locate each subject placed.

 

 2.  The canine must have a trained indication behavior indicating to the handler and evaluator that it has located the victim.  This behavior shall be described to the evaluator prior to the beginning of the test.

 3.  The handler must advise the evaluator of the search strategy they will employ prior to beginning the test.  This strategy should change as needed during the test. 

 4.  The handler must adequately cover the area.

 5.  The handler must advise the evaluator of the location of the victim using mapping/UTM GPS technology.

 6.  The handler must complete a SAR 111 form or equivalent search report. 

CERTIFICATION:

Certification is valid for two years upon receiving a passing score.

NOTE:

It is granted that personnel assigned to this type of search are fully aware of what minimum equipment they need to sustain themselves and their dog (s) in the wilderness for a 24 hour operational period.

 

HUMAN REMAINS SEARCH TEST - LAND

                                                                                                      PURPOSE:

To establish a minimum level of proficiency and reliability for dogs used in the detection of human remains or parts thereof                                                                        

NEEDS:                        

All canine teams shall demonstrate their proficiency in the search tecniques used to locate human bodies or parts of bodies, body decomposition fluids, human blood, either above, on the surface or below the surface.

   SCENT SOURCE:          

legally obtained and scent source material shall be used for all testing as determined by the evaluator.  The scent source used may be soil samples from a grave, aged human blood, human tissue or other suitable sources.  There shall be a minimum of one and maximum of two training aids used.  If two sources are used, one shall be above surface.   Pseudo scent sources shall not be used for testing.   Skeletal remains which do not contain skin or tissue shall not be used for testing.  Search areas shall be contanimated with human scent to prevent the canine from trailing  to the scent source.

SOURCE AMOUNTS AND PREPERATION:

A reasonable amount of scent source material shall be used for all testing as determined by the evaluator.

The source should be packaged in a container to prevent the dog from making contact with it. 

     SEARCH TEST CRITERIA:               

1.  The search will be conducted in a minimum size area of two (2) acres or approximately 300’ x 300’ feet containing moderate vegetation.  The area does not have to be rectangular in size.

2.  There shall be a minimum of one and a maxium of two training aids used.  If two aids are used, one shall be above surface.

3.  The evaluator will provide the legally obtained scent materials.

4.  All search areas will be contaminated with human scent to prevent the canine from trailing to the scent sources.  

5.  The area shall contain animal remains.  Animal remains naturally occuring in the area are preferred to planted remains.

6.  The canine must locate all scent source(s) placed for testing. 

7.  The training aid(s) shall be placed in the test area a minimum of one (1) hour prior to the beginning of the test. 

8.  The training aid(s) shall be either above ground no higher than six feet, on the surface, or buried no deeper that 12 inches below thw soil surface.

9. Above ground sources shall be concealed so as not to be visible to the dog or handler.  The burial site shall be camouflaged so visible ground disturbance is minimal.

10. There shall be a miniumum of three soil disturbances dug to ensure the dog does not alert on earth disturbance.

11. The team will be allowed a maximum of (1) hour to conduct the search.  Evaluators may extend the time limit based on weather and terrin conditions.

12. The handler must develop a search plan and advise the evaluator how they intend to begin their search.

13. The handler may deviate from their original search plan but should explain to the evaluator what they are doing.

14.  The handler must be able to control the dog and conduct a thorough search.

15. The handler will advise the evaluator what their canine's trained indication behavior is. 

16. The dog must offer the trained indication as close as possible to the scent source.  The handler cannot command the dog to perform the trained indication.  The dog must do the trained indication independently.

17. After the dog performs the trained indication, the handler must advise the evaluator of the indication and identify the source location.

18. Once the dog locates the material(s) and offers the trained indication, the dog may be rewarded at the handlers discression.

19. The canine teams fails the test if the handler calls an alert on anything other than human remains.  An example would be (animal remains or ground disturbances)

20. The canine may not compromise the scent source.  Compomise is defined as eating, rolling in or urinating / defecating on the scent source or digging up the source in a manner which exposes the source to plain sight.  If at any time during the evaluation the canine compromises the scent source, the evaluator may terminate the evaluation.          

EVALUATION:    

Certification is valid for two years upon receiving a passing score. 

         

HUMAN REMAINS SEARCH TEST - CRIME SCENE

PURPOSE:

To establish a level of proficiency and reliability for dogs in the detection of human remains or parts thereof, in a variety of different scenarios.  

NEEDS:

The canine team must successfully pass the Land Human Remains Search Test before attempting the Crime Scene Human Remains Search Test.

All canine teams shall demonstrate their proficiency in the search techniques used to locate: 

  1. Human bodies
  2. Parts of bodies
  3. Body decomposition fluids
  4. Ages human blood

SCENT SOURCES:

The scent source used may be:

  1. Soil samples from a grave
  2. Aged human blood
  3. Human tissue
  4. Burnt/charred human remains
  5. Articles tainted with blood or decomposing bodily fluids (use in crime scene search area as an above surface hide only)
  6. Skeletal remains (use in crime scene search area as an above surface hide only)
  7. Other suitable scent source as determined by the evaluator
  8. Skeletal remains which do not contain skin or tissue shall not be used for testing
  9. Pseudo scent sources shall not be used for testing

Scent source amounts and preparation:

  1. A reasonable amount of scent source material shall be used for all testing as determined by the evaluator.
  2. The source should be packaged in a container to prevent the dog from making contact with it. 

A.   General Search Criteria

All proficiency testing shall be done on a pass/fail basis.  For certification, the team must pass the following.

  1. The evaluation will consist of four (4) parts of which one will be a negative area:
    • Crime scene search or disarticulated human remains search
    • Vehicle search
    • Building/Structure search
    • Fire scene search
  2. There shall be a minimum of zero (0) and a maximum of two (2) scent sources placed in each testing area with the exception of the crime scene area which may have up to (3) scent sources. 
  3. The evaluator will provide the legally obtained scent material(s) in a proper container.
  4. All search areas will be contaminated with human scent to prevent the canine from trailing to the scent sources.
  5. At least one area shall contain animal remains.  Animal remains naturally occurring in the area are preferred to planted remains.
  6. The dog must locate all scent source(s) in each search area that contain human remains material.
  7. The handler must successfully compete each phase of testing, locating all aids.
  8. The handler must develop a search plan for each area and advise the evaluator how they intend to search each area.
  9. The handler may deviate from their original plan, but should explain to the evaluator what they are doing.
  10. The handler must be able to control the dog and conduct a thorough search.
  11. The handler will advise the evaluator what their canine’s trained indication behavior is.
  12. The dog must offer the trained indication behavior as close as possible to the scent source(s).  The handler cannot command the dog to perform the trained indication.  The dog must do the indication independently.
  13. After the canine performs the trained indication, the handler must advise the evaluator of the indication and identify the source location.
  14. Once the canine locates the material(s) and offers the trained indication the canine may be rewarded at the handler’s discretion.
  15. The team automatically fails if the handler calls an indication on anything other than human remains.
  16. The handler must complete a search report at the end of the test.
  17. The dog may not compromise the scent source.  Compromise is defined as eating, rolling in, urinating/defecating on the scent source or digging up the source in a manner which exposes the source to plain sight.  If at any time during the evaluation the canine compromises the scent source the evaluator may terminate the evaluation.

B. Crime Scene Search 

  1. The search will be conducted in a minimum size area of one (1) acre or approximately 205' x 205' feet containing moderate vegetation.  The area does not have to be a rectangle or square.
  2. The training aids shall be placed in the test area a minimum of one hour prior to the beginning of the testing.
  3. The training aid(s) shall be either above ground no higher than six feet, on the surface, or buried no deeper than twelve (12) inches below the soil surface.
  4. Above ground sources shall be concealed so as not to be visible to the dog or handler.  The burial site shall be camouflaged so visible ground disturbance is minimal.
  5. There shall be a minimum of three soil disturbances dug to ensure the dog does not aler on earth disturbance.
  6. The canine team will have thirty (30) minutes to conduct this search.  The evaluator may extend the time limit based on search conditions.

C.  Vehicle Search

  1. A minimum of five (5) vehicles will be used.
  2. Canine team must have access to the outside and inside of all vehicles.
  3. No two (2) scent sources will be placed on the same vehicle.
  4. If two (2) scent sources are used, one shall be placed in the interior and one shall be placed on the exterior of the vehicles.
  5. The scent sources shall be placed so the canines cannot retrieve them.
  6. All scent sources shall be placed a minimum of one (1) hour prior to testing.
  7. The vehicles shall be parked approximately eight (8') feet apart to minimize any cross contamination from the vehicle(s) containing the scent sources.
  8. The canine team will have fifteen (15) minutes to conduct this search.  The evaluator extend the time limit based on weather or search conditions.

D.  Building/Structure Search

  1. Five (5) rooms shall be used.
  2. If more than one scent source is used, only one shall be placed in each room.
  3. Scent sources shall be placed or concealed to simulate a crime scene.
  4. The scent sources shall be placed a minimum of one (1) hour prior to the start of the test.
  5. Scent sources will be placed no higher than eight (8) feet above the floor.
  6. The canine team shall have fifteen (15) minutes to conduct this search.  The evaluaor may extend the time limit based on search conditions.

E. Fire Scene

  1. A minimum size area of 100' x 100' feet will be used.
  2. Scent sources shall consist of burnt human remains material.
  3. Scent source(s) shall be placed a minimum of one (1) hour prior to the start of the test.
  4. The canine team shall have fifteen (15) minutes to conduct this test.  The evaluator may extend the time limit based on weather or search conditions.


HUMAN REMAINS SEARCH TEST - WATER

A.  Shoreline (moving water)

  1. A shoreline test shall be conducted in an area not less than 50' X 12' feet and not more than 300' X 12' feet. along the shore of a river or creek with moving water.
  2. The evaluator will provide legally obtained human remains training material or simulted cadaver chemical for testing.
  3. The handler shall advise the evaluator what the canine's trained indication behavior is. 
  4. The canine must offer the trained indication behavior and the handler will mark the location of the "find" with flagging tape perpendicular to the area on shore.
  5. The canine should alert within (10') feet down current of the source.  However, the evaluator may add distance compensating for wind and current. 

B. Boat

  1. An open water test shall be conducted on a lake in an area not less than 250' X 250' feet.  The depth of the aid will be determined by the evaluator but in no instance shall be below the thermocline.
  2. The handler will advise the evaluator what the canine's trained indication behavior is on a watercraft.
  3. The canine must offer the trained indication behavior and the handler will mark the location of the "find" with a floating bouy.
  4. The watercraft shall be a rescue type boat, stable and utilized primiarily for water rescue. (Jon, Boston Whaler, Zodiac). 
  5. The distance between the bouy and the source material should be no greater than (20') feet, however, the evaluator may add distance compensating for wind and current. 

 

URBAN LIGHT DISASTER SEARCH TEST - LIVE

Criteria –

 Handler must:

  • have the appropirate PPE for conducting rubble/collapsed structure searches.
  • be in excellent physical condition and be capable of searching for extended periods of time.      
  • have successfully completed Hazmat and Blood borne Pathogens classes.  
  • have emergency First Aid for Working Canines (proof of class attendance)
  •  have decontamination Procedures for Canines (same)
  •  have ICS 100 (FEMA on-line course)
  •  have FEMA Marking Systems (FEMA on-line course)
  •  shall take the Disaster Search Written Test either before or after the field testing at the evaluators discretion.   

        

Canine/Handler Performance Standards 

GROUND RULES:

  •  no trainign aids (balls, food, toys etc.)
  • no collars in agility or rubble pile / collapsed structure.
  • no prong, choke or electric collars.
  • no food in testing area.
  • handler must maintain continual control of the canine.
  • handler is responsible for care and safety of the canine at all times.
  • safety gear and procedures should be addressed continually.
  • aggression will not be tolerated at any time during the test.

 

ALERT TESTING:  THE BARK ALERT OR REFIND

Handler Information:

  • The team will have 5 minutes to perform this exercise.  The marked starting point will be 25 yards from the victim location.  The handler will remove the canine's leash before the exercise begins.  The canine may be given a hand signal or voice command to send the canine to the victim location.  If the canine does not go directly to the victim location, the handler may use additional commands as necessary to dIrect the canine to the victim location.  The handler may not move from the starting position.       
  • The handler may direct the canine toward the victim location but once the canine has located the victim's scent, the handler may not communicate with the canine in any way.  Once the canine has committed to the victim's location, it must remain focused, stay at the victim location and demonstrate an "independent of the handler" bark alert behavior (FBILHS) (Focused bark indicating live human scent for 30 seconds.           
  • If the canine has been trained to perform a re-find alert, it must return to the handler, offer the trained alert behavior and then take the handler back to the victim location.      
  • There will be two official timers.  One timer will start the exercise as soon as the handler sends the canine.  The second timer will time the 30-second alert, starting with the first bark.  In the case of the re-find alert the second timer will start timing as soon as the canine has located the victim's scent.  When the exercise is over, the handler may praise the dog.  The handler must then leave the area and secure the dog.   

Suggested Course Construction:      

  • A victim location will be set up in as isolated an area as the site permits.  the location should be made or constructed of a material to give optium control of scent (example: barrels, concrete, suitable pipe, etc).  Ideally, scent should only be detected from the front.  There should be a slightly recessed, snug fitting cover with holes at the bottom to allow for scent to escape.  This cover may have a handle/grab bar on the inside for the victim to hold or it may be securley taped in place.  
  • The starting point shall be measured and clearly marked.  The distance shall be 25 yards from the starting line to the victim location.          

Victim Placement:

  • The victim shall be in place for a period of at least 10 minutes before the beginning of the test.      

Required Skills: 

  • Repetitive barking (Focused Bark Indicating Live Human Scent-FBILHS), for 30 seconds.  A minimum of 6 barks may be inter-spread with digging and attempts to penetrate.)  This does not apply to canines trained to perform a re-find alert.      
  • The canine stays at the victim location after the indication of scent.  This does not apply to canines trained to perform a re-find alert.  
  • The handler does not communicate with the canine after indication of scent.      

 

AGILITY TESTING

  • This is a five-minute exercise.
  • The handler will remove the dog’s collar.
  • The dog must successfully negotiate each obstacle on the course. The dog is only allowed three attempts at each obstacle. The handler may encourage the dog but cannot physically assist the dog or preceded the dog on any of the obstacles.
  • The following obstacles are mandatory
  1. Ladder Climb
  2. Elevated plank walk
  3. Moving Plank walk
  4. Unsteady, wobbly surface
  5. Tunnel
  6. Sea saw
  • Ladder Climb:  Minimum 6' feet maximum 8' feet high with flat rungs secured at a 45 degree angle.  The little giant or Gorilla ladder extending to 8.5' feet and secured at a 45 degree angle is acceptable.
  • Elevated Plank walk:  A plank elevated at least 6’ feet and no more than 8’ feet off the ground (12” wide by 12” long plank is to be stable).
  • Moving Plank Walk:  Moving plank suspended on two barrels (12’ feet long by 12” inches high).
  • Unsteady wobbly Surface:  3' foot (approximate height) high, unsteady, wobbly surface that may be constructed with saw horses covered with a 4' foot X 8' foot sheet of 5/8" inch plywood.  The plywood shall have different debris items placed on top not to exceed 2' feet in height and constructed to provide access to the dog either by walking up an incline or by jumping no more than 3' feet high.
  • Tunnel:  A dark, narrow tunnel or passageway containing at least one right angle turn.  The canine should not be able to see through the tunnel to the end.  Partial covering of the exit is permitted.  The canine should fit into the tunnel without crawling.  
  • See Saw:  A plank approximately 16' feet long by 12" inches wide placed over a 55 gallon barrel or drum or other suitable design.  

Canines should demonstrate control when negotiating the obstacles, i.e. climbing the ladder rather than jumping past the first few rungs.

The obstacle course may be set up as six separately constructed obstacles or as a combination of obstacles.  The course may be administered in any order deemed by the evaluator(s).      

The handler/dog must have passed the above testing before being allowed to test on the following search scenarios.

 

DISASTER SEARCH FIELD TESTING:

The disaster search field-testing is made up of three separate searches. The handler and dog must successfully complete all three types in order to pass.

 Rubble Pile Search:

The pile should be at least a 2000 square foot area and be an average height of ten feet.

This area will be contaminated with distractions that may include:

  • People, smoke, animals
  • Food
  • Running machinery, generators, rescue tools 

One victim will be placed at least 20 minutes before the testing.  

The team will be allowed five minutes to conduct the interview.  

The handler will remove the collar from the dog and direct the dog to search.  

The dog will have ten minutes to locate the victim.  

The dog must indicate on the location of the victim with a sustained bark alert (minimum 3 barks) or re-find.

The handler may not access the rubble pile.  

When the handler hears the dog barking identifying live human scent or the dog returns to the handler and alerts, he/she shall notify the evaluator of the alert.  

The evaluator will then instruct the handler to access the pile and the handler must identify the location of the alert.

In the case of the re-find alert, after returning to the handler, the canne must then take the handler back to the location as close to the victim scent as possible and the handler must identify the location.  

The handler may verbally encourage or praise his/her dog.  

The handler will then be instructed to leave the pile with the dog.

The handler must sketch the pile and indicate on the sketch the alert location.

 COLLAPSED STRUCTURE SEARCH:

The search area will include at least five structures, i.e. mobile homes.

The dog and handler will have 30 minutes to clear all five structures.

There will be at least two and no more than three victims placed at least twenty minutes prior to the start of the testing.

The team will be allowed five minutes to conduct the interview.  

The handler must communicate his search plan to the evaluator at which time the evaluator will advise the handler when to begin.  

The canine team must clear all five structures before the test is concluded.

The dog must indicate on the victim by giving a sustained bark alert or re-find.  

When the handler hears the dog barking identifying live human scent or the dog returns to the handler and alerts, he must notify the evaluator. 

The evaluator will then advise the handler to access the structure.

The handler must identify the area of the alert.  

The handler may praise and reward his canine and then should move on to the next search.

This process shall continue until all five structures are cleared.  

The handler may break his canine during this process.

BUILDING SEARCH: 

This search will be conducted in low light conditions.

One victim will be placed in a large multi floored building, at least twenty minutes prior to the beginning of testing.

The handler and dog will have five minutes to locate the victim.

The handler may enter the building and direct the search.

The dog must indicate on the location of the victim by a sustained bark alert or re-find.

When the handler hears the dog barking identifying live human scent or the dog returns to the handler and alerts, the handler must notify the evaluator.

The handler must identify the location of the alert.

The handler may praise and reward his canine.

Distractions may be used during this search.

 

URBAN LIGHT DISASTER SEARCH TEST - RECOVERY

Criteria –

Handler

  • Must have the appropirate PPE for conducting rubble/collapsed structure searches.     
  • Must be in excellent physical condition and be capable of searching for extended periods of time.      
  • Successfully completed Hazmat and Blood borne Pathogens classes.      
  • Emergency First Aid for Working Canines (proof of class attendance)
  • Decontamination Procedures for Canines (same)
  • ICS 100 (FEMA on-line course)
  • FEMA Marking Systems (FEMA on-line course)
  • Shall take the disaster search writtewn test either before or after the field testing at the evaluators discression.      

 

                  Canine/Handler Performance Standards   

GROUND RULES:

  • No training aids (balls, food, toys etc).
  • No collars in agility or rubble pile/collapsed structure.      
  • No prong, choke or electronic collars.      
  • No food in testing area.      
  • Handler is responsible for care and safety of the canine at all times.      
  • Safety gear and procedures should be addressed continually.
  • Aggression will not be tolerated at any time during the test.

     ALERT TESTING:  HUMAN REMAINS ODOR RECONITION TEST

Rationale:

  • The purpose of this station is to ensure that the canine will independently recognize, and independently indicate on the odor of human remains.

 Required Handler Skills:

  • The handler will describe to the evaluator what the canine's indication will be.

 Required Canine Skills:

  • For the purposes of this station an "indication" is defined as a "trained behavior by which the canine remains at the scent source and communicates a find to the handler".  Such indication must be consistent throughout the certification testing process and must be easily reconized by someone other than the handler (i.e., the evaluator). 
  • Canine must have a trained indication that does not cause damage to the remains and which is consistent with the disaster enviorment in which the canine is to work.
  • A bark, passive sit or down indication at source is acceptable.  If the dog is trained to perform a re-find, the dog must return to the handler, offer the trained alert behavior, then take the handler back to the source location.  

 Handler Information

The handler will remove the canine's collar and start the canine from any area outside the search area.

The canine must go to the location of the scent source and give the indication specified by the handler.  The canine must also preserve the source.  If the canine does not go directly to source, the handler may use additional commands, as necessary to direct the canine to the source location.   But, once the canine engages the source scent (i.e., the canine’s behavior indicates to observers that the canine has encountered the scent source and that the canine recognizes the scent), the handler may not talk or signal the canine in any way and the canine must independently perform its trained or reinforced indication.

The handler must not enter the search area, but may move around the perimeter, as necessary, until the dog commits to, and indicates, the find.  The phrase “commits to, and indicates, the find” is defined as performing it’s trained indication (as described above) for at least ten (10) seconds for a passive indication or 3 barks for a bark indication.  At that time, handler may approach and praise the dog and reward with a toy or food, then leash the canine and quickly leave the area.

The time allotted for the canine to search for and to independently commit to and indicate the find is 5 minutes.

 Site Setup:

The evaluator will approve the site.

One (1) scent source will be placed in the center of a clear open area that is 25 yards by 25 yards, a minimum of ten (10) minutes prior to the canine working the problem.

The perimeter of the search area will be clearly marked with cones at the corners, or flagging tape.

Evaluators must have a clear view of the canine's work.

There shall be no known distractions placed in the search area.

 Scent Source Placement: 

• The location of the scent source will be readily visible to both canine and handler, but the scent source itself will be placed in a suitable container with several holes in the cover to aerate the source.

  Scent sources must be in place a minimum of ten (10) minutes.

 Scent Source Material:

  Scent source material must consist of at least 15 grams of bone and soft tissue, or soft tissue. Bone only, and pseudo aids are not acceptable.

  Scent sources must be identified on the evaluation sheet indicating description and approximate weight of the material.

 Performance Criteria and Evaluation Form Guidelines:

The evaluators(s) shall consider the following list of key skills in determining the team’s success for the indication station element.

  • Alert at indication station without damage to scent source:

- Did Not Complete / Doesn’t alert or damages source

- Completed / Alerts and does not damage source

AGILITY TESTING:

 This is a five-minute exercise.

The handler will remove the dog’s collar.

The dog must successfully negotiate each obstacle on the course. The dog is only allowed three attempts at each obstacle. The handler may encourage the dog but cannot physically assist the dog or preceded the dog on any of the obstacles.

The following obstacles are mandatory:

  1. Ladder Climb
  2. Elevated plank walk
  3. Moving Plank walk
  4. Unsteady, wobbly surface
  5. Tunnel
  6. Sea saw
  1. Ladder Climb:  Minimum 6' feet maxium 8' feet high with flat rungs secured at a 45 degree angle.  The little Giant or Gorilla Ladder extending to 8.5 ' feet and secured at a 45 degree angle is acceptable.
  2. Elevated Plank Walk:   A plank elevated at least 6’ feet and no more than 8’ feet off the ground (12” inches wide by 12” inches long plank is to be stable).
  3. Moving Plank Walk:  Moving plank (12’ feet long by 12” inches high) suspende between two barrels.
  4. Unsteady, Wobbly Surface:  3-foot (approximate height) high unsteady, wobbly surface that may be constructed with saw horses covered with a 4' foot X 8' foot sheet of 5/8" plywood.  The plywood shall have different debris items placed on top not to exceed 2' feet high and constructed to provide access to the dog either by walking up an incline or by jumping no more than 3' feet high.
  5. Tunnel:  A dark, narrow tunnel or passageway containing at least one right angle turn.  The canine should not be able to see through the tunnel to the end.  Partial covering of the exit is permitted.  The canine should fit into the tunnel without crawling.
  6. See Saw:  A plank approximately 16' feet long by 12' feet wide placed over a 55 gallon barell or drum or otherr suitable design.

Canines should demonstrate control when negotiating the obstacles, i.e. climbing the ladder rather than jumping past the first few rungs.

 The obstacle course may be set up as six separately constructed obstacles or as a combination of obstacles.  The course may be administered in any order deemed by the evaluator.      

 The handler/dog must have passed the above testing before being allowed to test on the following search scenarios.

 

DISASTER SEARCH FIELD TESTING:

The disaster search field-testing is made up of three separate searches. The handler and dog must successfully complete all three types in order to pass.

 Rubble Pile Search

The pile should be at least a 2000 square foot area and an average height of 10' feet. 

This area will be contaminated with distractions that may include:

    • People, smoke, animals
    • Food
    • Running machinery, generators, rescue tools

     

    One human remains source  will be placed at least 20 minutes before the testing.

    The team will be allowed five minutes to conduct the interview.

    The handler will remove the collar from the dog and direct the dog to search.

    The handler may access the pile and direct the search.

    The dog will have 10 minutes to locate the source.

    The dog must indicate on the location of the source with a sustained bark alert (minimum 3 barks), passive sit, down or re-find.

    When the handler hears or observes the dog barking, observes the dog passively indicate or the dog returnes to the handler and alerts, said handler shall notify the evaluator of the alert.  

    The handler must identify the location of the alert.

    The handler may verbally encourage or praise his dog. 

    The handler will then be instructed to leave the pile with his dog.

    The handler must sketch the pile and indicate on the sketch the alert location by using the SAR III report or team search report or equivalent.

     

    COLLAPSED STRUCTURE SEARCH:

    The search area will include at elast five structures, i.e. mobile homes.

    The dog and handler will have 30 minutes to clear all five structures.

    There will be at least two and no more than three human remains scent sources placed at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the testing.

    the team will be allowed 5 minutes to conduct the interview.

    The handler must communicate his/her search plan to the evaluator at which time the evaluator will advise the handler when to begin.

    The handler may enter the structure and direct the search.

    The canine team must clear all five structures before the test is concluded.

    The dog must indicate on the scent sources by giving a sustained bark alert (minimum 3 barks), or passive sit, down or re-find.

    When the handler hears or observes the dog barking identifying the odor of human remains material, observes the dog passively indicate or the dog returns to the handler and alerts, said handler must notify the evaluator and identify the location of the source.   

    The accuracy and distance from the source(s) will be at the discretion of the evaluator based on the terrain and structures. 

    The handler may praise and reward the canine and then move on to the next search.

    This process shall continue until the five structures are cleared.

    The handler may break the canine during this process.

     

    BUILDING SEARCH:

     

    This search will be conducted in low light cdonditions.

    One human remains scent source will be placed in a large, multi floored building at least 20 minutes prior to the beginning of the test.

    The handler and dog will have 5 minutes to locate the source.

    The handler may enter the building and direct the search.

    The dog must indicate on the location of the scent source by a sustained bark alert (mimimum 3 barks), or passive sit, down or re-find.

    When the handler hears or observes the dog barking identifying the odor of human remains material, observes the dog passively indicate or the dog returnes to the handler and alerts, said handler must notify the evaluator and identify the location of the scent source.

    The evaluator has the discretion to decide the acceptable distance of the trained indication from the scent source based on scent flow in the building.

    The handler may praise and reward the canine.

    Distractions may be used during this search test.