I just want to reinforce the comments you have already received. I agree on the travel time - I know I traveled about 3 hours for my first team and 2 for the second (until we moved closer and now most trainings are only an hour away)--there are not so many calls that can justify having teams too close to one another.
We have also driven 4-5 hours for some human remains searches and up to 3 for live person searches ........ usually the long distance calls are leaving at 4 am or so to be on the ground running for the first morning shift. (Though we try to get folks let us run the dogs at night which is our best time)
Ditto on the Boerbel. I have a friend with one and there are a number of reasons why I would not consider. Not being a breed snob but if you want to do SAR you go into it with a dog that is already hard wired for the job.
I understand the call thing. I went through the same thing when I started looking to join a team about 10 years ago. There are tons of people who call SAR teams, most who are just looking for dogsport and SAR volunteers must (1)Work a normal job (2) Train several days a week (3)Miss work to go on calls (4)Do things to raise funds for team expenses (5)Do PR
events like demos etc....so the folks on any team worth joining are usually pretty overstretched as it is. Add the typical (of many many) inquiries for someone who saw a movie or read a book and wants to do SAR but only because of the dog......and folks are often not to quick to respond. Sometimes I am 2-3 weeks late myself when we get an inquiry and more often than not, they have NOT read our webpage section on joining.
If this is something you would be interested in doing regardless of whether or not you had a dog....would you pursue? If it is not, find a dogsport that is fun for you. If it is, then your passion will be so strong you will keep pushing for it and succeed.
Florida has a double whammy. We do have alligators in the low country of South Carolina, but not really in the upstate where I am, though there are poisonous snakes. The one thing I know about gators (having gone through jr high and high school on the space coast of Florida (Merritt Island) is they LOVE dogs. Too many high school friends lost pets to gators and my parents actually saw one lurch out of the water and take a neighbors dog. A real consideration. I always dread it when we get a call in the southern and eastern parts of my state.