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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting Email

So the SAR group I was working with pretty much fell apart and for the last few months I have been trying to connect with local teams. I found a FEMA team about 45 minutes away that I attended a practise with and REALLY like. Great people, awesome dogs. I had emailed another group and asked all my questions as far as handler and dog certification since they seemed to be more of a private group. I dont have the dog for the work yet and will be getting one sometime in the near future but wanted to start working with the team first...this is the email I got back from this other group, Im a bit confused on it...can anyone shed some light for me

"Our Unit has never had interest in keeping the number count up on our volunteer list....everyone who is a part brings value to the Unit to make it whole or better. We are not "traditional" in many of our efforts but do not fall into the category of most volunteer opportunities.
There are a number of avenues you can take for getting certified, by a number of groups across the nation if not the world........it never ends. Who has the best? Which counts for more? Which costs the most? As long as you are willing to put out the money and effort you will find some place willing to certify you to do something. It never ends. Bottom line here.......are you effective. The word certification concerns me. We are not a club, business, or government entity. We do not compete........we do the best we can, where we are, with what we have.
Stay safe...."




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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 02:15 PM
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My guess would be they aren't impressed with certificates and titles, they're more interested in end results, the reasons you want to be involved in SAR etc.

Titles & certificates for dogs and owners/trainers are really important to a lot of people these days but honestly, how many people work only long enough to get the title and then move on to something else?

Maybe from your letter they thought you were more interested in the titles or certificates rather than being involved in SAR for the long haul?
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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That would make sense I guess..although Im not sure why they would have thought that. It just sort of took me aback when I read it....

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 02:52 PM
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It is kind of odd, you'd think they would appreciate your interest
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 03:17 PM
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It sounds to me like they don't care about being certified but being effective. The also
apparently aren't concerned with having people just to have numbers. They would rather have fewer people who are dedicated then alot of people who are not.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 03:22 PM
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Just a thought here....how many SAR groups that are not certified, which to me means they've passed a test that shows they have reached a certain level of training needed to find a missing person, are called to do the work?

I would be suspicious of a group that responded like that and would certainly look into it further. I would start emailing groups and getting more opinions on what is required to do SAR work.

When there is a disaster, or a missing person, they don't just call in a yahoo with a dog. They call in group/individuals that they know have done the training and that is what the certification proves.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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I agree with what everyone says as far as how the email reads..and I agree that its not the number of team members you have but really how effective you are as a team..but the email honestly is a bit ... I dont know what word to use but maybe harsh? It just kind of put me off to say the least...I was very interested in the program previously but now I am way more interested in the FEMA team because they seemed much more interested in adding new handlers especially one with previous training

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 08:58 PM
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It is hard to know without knowing the text of your email to them and how you used the word certification.

My take on certification - they are right - I have seen some nationally certified dogs that make you go "say what?" So I think certs are necessary but only a very small part of the story. For my cadaver dog you betcha - I have certed my current dog with NAPWDA twice and IPWDA basic and advanced once - but cadaver dogs sometimes wind up in court and you want the backing of national police master trainers.

but I do think all things are needed - - certification, training records, and demonstrated proficiency.

I respond to the emails that come into our team and I can say that the overwhelming majority of people are looking for something for their dog to do and are not really interested in SAR and responding is often a big waste of time but I do, and do so politely because you never know.........but it is rare to have a solid email inquiry.

Bottom line - it is often hard to get into a team because there is so much of "oh gee, I didn't know I had to go in the woods for 4 hours but it is hot as **** and there are all these briars and mosquitos"... or "you want me to go out there at night?"....etcetc.

My suggestion to you is....face to face see if you can meet with them .... maybe attend some training as a volunteer victim and get a feeling for the team. You can only go so far with email and there is a lot of reading between the lines on both parties parts without that human body language and vocal intonation to fill in the blanks.

Nancy



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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 09:18 PM
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Oh I passed the time for editing
If you lke the FEMA team and it is 45 minutes away - why not?

If it is a newer FEMA associated SUSAR team, figure out the EXPERIENCE they have as there are new teams that have formed and are all about this certification and all about that one but have no real search experience and often speak down about the existing teams that are not as "polished" but that have been finding folks for years.......

You should look at the real life track record of anyone you are interested in

Do they get calls
Who calls them
Do they get called back
Do they find people

Nancy



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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the information and suggestions Jocoyn. I had emailed the woman back today and clarified why I had been interested in becoming involved. The FEMA team holds a handler course every year but apparently this next year the Fire house (which holds these courses) are thinking about holding off...Im supposed to know in 2 weeks whether or not they are accepting new handlers. I let this other group know that I had already practised and was wanting to get involved with this other group but I appreciated her contacting me back. Fortunetly the woman who "runs" the FEMA group said she would work with me individually if they werent accepting anymore handlers so that in 2012 I could get a head start. I wish it wasn't so hard to get involved in this area

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