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Group members are extensively trained in the following:

  • National Association for Search and Rescue "Managing the Search Function", and the Incident Command System.

  • State certified E.M.T. or Advanced Red Cross First Aid and CPR.

  • Crime scene investigation.

  • The use of VHF radio equipment (all individual handlers are radio equipped).

  • Orienteering (map and compass use).

  • National Ski Patrol's Avalanche and Mountaineering courses.

  • Winter travel (snowshoes or cross-country skis).

     Training and cross training on all of the above is ongoing throughout the year within our own group and with other search and rescue oriented organizations.  Exercises and actual searches are performed by our group in all types of terrain: wilderness, desert, and urban, under various weather conditions.

     A fitness test and a medical examination are required yearly of all our handlers.  Our dogs are tested several times during the year on obedience and agility.  Standards for handlers and dogs may be reviewed by agencies upon request.

Our unit provides multi-trained dog teams in:

  1. Air Scent

  2. Tracking/ Trailing

  3. Scent Discrimination

They participate in the following search types:

Wilderness- With the use of Air Scent, wind currents and terrain features are used to search for a given scent that is airborne.  With Tracking/ Trailing, dog teams look for a scent that has been deposited by the missing person(s) as they have moved along.  Using an article of clothing worn by an individual our dogs are trained to discriminate between that scent and any other scent that may be in the area.

Avalanche/ Slide- Dogs help find victims of an avalanche or slide by alerting at the area where the most accumulation of human scent comes to the surface, taking into consideration depth and density of the snow or debris.

Water- Being similar to Avalanche, dog teams are able to assist by giving areas of high priority for the dive teams to check out.

Disaster- The scent from trapped victims can be detected by search dogs so the individual(s) can be rescued.

Evidence/ Article- Items left, dropped or deposited by a person(s) can be detected by our search dogs to show areas where a person has traveled as a possible clue.

Urban- Walk-a-ways from rest homes, school grounds, etc.

Body Recovery- Our dog teams have been used to locate the bodies and body parts involved in traumatic events.

     While we can work with law enforcement canines, we do not participate in drug or fugitive type searches.