News Releases

Canine's Role in Urban Search and Rescue

Canine searchers play a critical role during structural collapse incidents. The canines help search teams to locate victims, using their incredible sense of smell to detect live human scent, even from a victim buried deep in the rubble.

Canine & Handler Certification - Learn about the rigorous national certification each canine/handler team must pass in urban search and rescue.

Canine Search Specialist Certification Process-This page describes the process that can be used by local program management, state officials, FEMA and sponsoring organizations to determine the level of search canine team skills.

Canine & Handler Certification - Learn about the rigorous national certification each canine/handler team must pass in urban search and rescue.

Canine Readiness Evaluation Process - This page describes the process that can be used by local program management, state officials, FEMA and sponsoring organizations to determine search canine readiness levels.

Urban Search & Rescue Canine Photos - View photos of US&R canines and handlers responding to disasters.

Did You Know?

  • FEMA US&R canine handlers are mostly civilians, as well as firefighters and police department members. Most of the certified canines are Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Border Collies and Golden Retrievers.
  • Canines with high "toy drive" are used for urban search and rescue. It is a game of hide and seek" for the dog. In training, people run from the dog and hide with the toy, playing with the dog when found. By the time the dog is on a real search, he is looking willingly for trapped people.
  • Few search dogs wear "booties" when working on a rubble pile. Despite the hazards of sharp metal and broken glass, the dogs often need to perform what is called a "soft walk" where they splay their paws for maximum traction. Collars and booties can sometimes add to the risk of searching in tight or obstructed spaces.

http://www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/canine.shtm



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