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Discussion Starter #1
Does this group appear to be something worth pursuing? I want to cut my teeth and get the Tech II certifications so by the time I get my next GSD, I can seamlessly transition into wilderness K9 SAR.

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Not too familiar with SAR groups and organizations, so looking for feedback both positive and negative.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
obviously, this is just for the organization... getting a dog trained up for wilderness SAR is a whole different beast.
 

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It looks good to me.

I really don't see any red flags. Some may have a real issue with the fact they self-certify but "encourage" external certs. We have the same thing going on, though and are requiring NAPWDA for cadaver and are slowly pushing through the resistance to have all team dogs nationally certified. It is a paradigm shift for some of the old timers.


Curious, What is "Intermediate Air Scent Tracking"
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks! i have no idea about any of this, but it has always been on my list of things to achieve and pursue in life. a natural segue from GSDs and being a geologist with extensive field experience into wilderness SAR.

intermediate air scent tracking- setting trails/tracking, simulated "rescue" find work... that's what the handlers here have called it after we graduated from the basic air scent "find" work.

my gsd has too low a prey drive to excel beyond the intermediate 5 acre work.

my next gsd will be of working lines, though.
 

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Good show. Get lined up with the team first!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
that's what i'm going to do.

so can i get my tech II certification without a dog?
 

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Yes. The SAR II is a general search and rescue credential that has nothing to do with dogs. You also do not need to be on a team to do any NASAR courses* If you chose to test your dog to the NASAR standards, you must have the SAR II before you can take the test but the other organizations that certify handler/K9 teams do not require it. The team might require it. There is much to SAR that has ZERO to do with dogs.

*Though to be honest, many of the SARII tests are not announced on the site and coordinated with the team.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
okay! thanks for clarifying. my current GSD is not cut out for the work, but I still want to get involved and get experience under my belt for the time when I do have a GSD that does.
 

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Very good to do! Best way if you ask me!!. Also, SAR folks are good contacts for finding good dogs. Often dogs that don't go "for sale" but the good SAR prospects are hand picked out of the litter for folks the breeder KNOWS will work them.
 

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Looks legit to me. I like that they have a physical fitness test. I've always noticed that a lot of SAR volunteers are older and "bigger", but their adrenaline seems to empower them to do long searches in rugged terrain. I have seen some people get hurt (twisted ankles, exhaustion, etc.) while training or on real missions, and I think if they were in better shape, it could've been avoided. But beggers can't be choosers when it comes to volunteer SAR. You take what you can get and are happy with who actually sticks to it and shows up on calls! I honestly don't think there is a better bunch of people than the SAR community. Nicest groups of folks I've ever worked with. I think there's something to be said about people who sacrifice their own precious time and money to train and search for complete strangers, usually risking their own lives in the process of saving someone else's life. Amazing! Good luck!! Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Very good to do! Best way if you ask me!!. Also, SAR folks are good contacts for finding good dogs. Often dogs that don't go "for sale" but the good SAR prospects are hand picked out of the litter for folks the breeder KNOWS will work them.
good to know!

i have a couple breeders in mind based on conversations with friends and research. would love to bounce my thoughts off you sometime.

pm me your email? don't wanna start a drama thread over here!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Looks legit to me. I like that they have a physical fitness test. I've always noticed that a lot of SAR volunteers are older and "bigger", but their adrenaline seems to empower them to do long searches in rugged terrain. I have seen some people get hurt (twisted ankles, exhaustion, etc.) while training or on real missions, and I think if they were in better shape, it could've been avoided. But beggers can't be choosers when it comes to volunteer SAR. You take what you can get and are happy with who actually sticks to it and shows up on calls! I honestly don't think there is a better bunch of people than the SAR community. Nicest groups of folks I've ever worked with. I think there's something to be said about people who sacrifice their own precious time and money to train and search for complete strangers, usually risking their own lives in the process of saving someone else's life. Amazing! Good luck!! Let me know if you have any questions.
that's good to know. most seem nice, but so many people i've met in the dog world are standoffish and want nothing to do with the newcomers.

i've got a ton of wilderness experience under my belt, both geared and minimal, CPR certified. I should probably take that wilderness first aid class offered by REI.

really i want to combine my love for the breed with my love for the outdoors, and my overwhelming desire to help others. i'm in a great location- 3 hrs from TX gulf coast, 7 hrs from Louisiana, 6 hrs from OKC, 8 hrs from Tulsa... basically I'm in a good spot for hurricanes and tornadoes, as sad as that is.
 

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If you want to work natural disasters, you need to line yourself up with a USAR team and be available for long deployments.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you want to work natural disasters, you need to line yourself up with a USAR team and be available for long deployments.
disasters, missing persons, whatever else; although, i am so hesitant on natural disasters strictly from a mold/asbestos perspective.

work is pretty flexible, as they should, considering i can get a call at 2pm to be on a plane in 3 hours for pipeline or oil field emergency response.
 

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I have no USAR experience but GSDSAR and LADYLAW203 do. I have not seen Ladylaw around so much but know she has been breeding/working with labs as of late.......By and large USAR and local Wilderness teams work different types of searches with some overlap both ways depending on the situation and IC at the time.

You may want to PM them. I do know USAR dogs and handlers get subjected to a lot and it is probably the job for an adrenaline junky. But if you are responding to pipeline emergencies, you may be the right kind of person............
 

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Discussion Starter #16
what is IC?

i think that's why i really want to focus on wilderness more than anything else, because i'm scared of the asbestos/mold issues. that, and i have gobs of experience in different climates/terrains.

nancy, you are so helpful. i appreciate it!
 

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Another USAR handler here :greet: but I also do wilderness (and HR in training). My suggestion would be to go the wilderness route first and if you like that then pursue USAR if that is what you are interested in.
 

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IC is "incident command"..........may as well knock out your ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 classes - they are free and online....don't take long and have some of the lingo. I think 809 for SAR is going away and 800 is being revised. google FEMA online training. I know my state requires it for all emergency responders and think most are supposed to.

I know plenty of folks who work out of a CRV or and Element or even a car! I got my truck because I wanted it and justified it for camping outings with the grandkids, being able to tow the boat for the team, being able to quickly knock it down for use as a home truck (the crates are held in by ratchet straps but come right out but the platform is "in there" ......... before when I dismantled, all my SAR gear wound up in a pile in the garage, and I kid you not. I think people say "lets wait until Nancy unpacks her truck to get lost" - I also work at command during live person searches and can run tailgate command if needed, and transport an entire search crew to a site along with room for handlers and dogs.

I still keep my pack, radio, GPS, food, in the house.......near the door. I have a lot of stuff related to the cadaver work - life jackets, binoculars, soil probes, shovel, boxes of gloves, various containers and small cages to put training aids in etc....Also carry folding chairs :) and a hammock!

Charlotte makes a very good suggestion! And it is a LOT easier to get into a Wilderness team than a USAR team.

The basics-I would get what NASAR recommends for its 24 hour k9 pack and keep it in your CRV. Most of the time you will take out a subset of that. I have two packs...but switch stuff between them. Many of our cadaver searches are less than 5 acres. But if we are out all day I take the bigger pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
IC is "incident command"..........may as well knock out your ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 classes - they are free and online....don't take long and have some of the lingo. I think 809 for SAR is going away and 800 is being revised. google FEMA online training. I know my state requires it for all emergency responders and think most are supposed to.

I know plenty of folks who work out of a CRV or and Element or even a car! I got my truck because I wanted it and justified it for camping outings with the grandkids, being able to tow the boat for the team, being able to quickly knock it down for use as a home truck (the crates are held in by ratchet straps but come right out but the platform is "in there" ......... before when I dismantled, all my SAR gear wound up in a pile in the garage, and I kid you not. I think people say "lets wait until Nancy unpacks her truck to get lost" - I also work at command during live person searches and can run tailgate command if needed, and transport an entire search crew to a site along with room for handlers and dogs.

I still keep my pack, radio, GPS, food, in the house.......near the door. I have a lot of stuff related to the cadaver work - life jackets, binoculars, soil probes, shovel, boxes of gloves, various containers and small cages to put training aids in etc....Also carry folding chairs :) and a hammock!

Charlotte makes a very good suggestion! And it is a LOT easier to get into a Wilderness team than a USAR team.

The basics-I would get what NASAR recommends for its 24 hour k9 pack and keep it in your CRV. Most of the time you will take out a subset of that. I have two packs...but switch stuff between them. Many of our cadaver searches are less than 5 acres. But if we are out all day I take the bigger pack.
okay thanks! yeah IC is the same in our realm, too.

most helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
i'd be working out of a civic, although i've been considering an older jeep as a fun car in the next couple years
 
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