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Leerburg Articles Urban Search & Rescue Response System

Urban Search & Rescue Response System

Urban Search & Rescue Response System


Search Canine Readiness Evaluation


Copyright 1998


No collars on search site.
Food rewards not permitted on search site.
No access to search site after setup of test.
Handier must maintain continual control of the canine.
Handler is responsible for care and safety of the canine at all times.
Safety gear and procedures should be addressed continually.


Handler Information

The Type I - Advanced evaluation will consist of one element - disaster search operations.

The search team's proficiency in briefing, directability, agility, alerting, searching and debriefing will be evaluated.

Course Construction

There will be three separate search sites. Each site will not be closer than 20 feet to the others.

Each search site will consist of a minimum area of 3000 sq. feet, with a minimum average height of 10 feet. The rubble/debris should consist of concrete, wood, mixed material. Or structure consistent with a disaster scene.

One of the search sites will be contaminated with distractions:

This should include people, animals (dead or alive/caged), food, smoke, etc. (Human waste products are optional.)
Food should be hidden carefully.
There should be noise distractions such as running generators, machinery, and rescue tools, etc. Some of the noise distractions may be supplied by audiotapes. The environment should mirror the real situation.

Site management - rescue and medical components must be available on site.

Victim Placement

There will be a total of six (6) victims. They shall be placed at least 20 minutes before the evaluation begins. There will be from 0 - 3 concealed victims in each pile.

The victims shall be well concealed from both handler and dog.

The hiding areas should be carefully constructed to prevent small/large dogs from getting in to the victim. There will be several false holes constructed. All victims will have radios with ear plugs and should be monitored on a constant basis.

Search Procedures

The three search sectors will have different accessibility to the handler.

One site is completely accessible to the handler. One site will provide access to the perimeter and high point of the site to gain visual overview of the entire site. The handler may enter the rubble to mark an alert and restart the dog. The handler must return to the perimeter or high point. One site will provide access to only one portion of the perimeter, which will be marked. The canine must search the area out of the handler's sight in order; locate the victim(s). The handler may access the rubble to mark the alert location and restart the dog. The handler may remain or return to the perimeter while the dog continues to search for victims.

A 5-minute briefing will be provided at each site.

The team has 20 minutes to search each rubble pile. The team will be allowed a 1C minute rest period (plus any relocation time. if necessary) between each searon, site/operation.

The handler shall make a sketch map of the site indicating alerts, prominent feature and compass orientation (N and S)


The canine will be evaluated on the following abilities:


Scoring will be based on the Performance Criteria and Score Sheet guidelines for Type I -Advanced.


At this level, the canine has already demonstrated the ability in various Type 11 elements. It now becomes important to evaluate the team in a realistic scenario. The handier will then be evaluated as to the ability to function as a Canine Search Specialist and the ability to be the driver of the team. The canine will be evaluated with regard to his focus and efficiency to act independently and accomplish the job.


The following list of key skills as well as other skills and attributes shall be considered by the evaluators in determining the score for each of the elements.


Site assessment/interview

(0 - 2) Doesn't ask When, Where, How, Why, Who and safety questions.
(3) Asks appropriate questions.
(4-6)Asks additional leading questions to narrow the search area.

Establish a search plan

(0-2) Doesn't have a search plan.
(3) Has appropriate search plan.
(4-6) Has exceptional search plan.

Safety preparedness

(0-2) Doesn't have or use proper safety equipment.
(3-6)Uses proper safety equipment.


Ranges out of sight

(0-2) Won't range out of sight.
(3) Ranges out of sight with direction.
(4 -6) Ranges out of sight without direction.

Directs away from handier on command

(0-2) Selects difficult or unsafe access
(3) Selects appropriate access
(4-6) Selects best access

Receptive to further directions

(0-2)Won*t take further directions.
(3)Takes further directions.
(4-6) Can be given further directions at a distance.

Considers appropriate access

(0-2)Selects difficult or unsafe access.
(3)Selects appropriate access.
(4-6) Selects best access.


Comfortable/confident on rubble

(0-2)Not comfortable/confident on rubble.
(3) Comfortable/confident on rubble.
(4-6)Agile, comfortable/confident on rubble.

Comfortable away from handler

(0-2) Anxious away from handler.
(3) Comfortable away from handler.
(4-6) Relaxed and agile away from handler.


FBILHS (focused bark indicates live human scent)

(0-2)Doesn't bark, false alert.
(3) Barks at the source indicating live human scent.
(4-6)Barks with intensity/enthusiasm at scent, tries to penetrate, ignores handler.

Pinpoints alert location

(0-2) Handler cannot pinpoint alert location.
(3) Handler can pinpoint alert location.
(4-6) Anyone can pinpoint alert location.

Stays in vicinity

(0- 2)Dog leaves area after alerting and loses interest in that alert.
(3)Dog stays in vicinity of alert and maintains interest until handler arrives.
(4-6)Dog doesn't leave at all.


(0-2)No penetration.
(4-6)Digs with intensity pinpointing location.

Independent of handler

(0-2)Continually looks to handler for support.
(3)Occasionally looks to handler for support
(4-6)Infrequently looks to handler for support.


(0-2) Lacks intensity
(3) Intense
(4-6) Enthusiastic and focused


Covers area thoroughly

(0 - 2) Doesn't cover area.
(3) Covers entire area.
(4-6) Covers entire area efficiently.

Searches independently

(0-2)Needs continual support from handler.
(3)Needs minimal support from handler.
(4-6)Infrequent support from handler.

Dog stamina

(0-2) Dog stops working.
(3) Dog works until problem finished.
(4-6) Dog still has high energy level at the end of the problem.


(0-2) Dog does not have intensity or enthusiasm.
(3) Dog has sufficient intensity and enthusiasm.
(4-6) Dog has high level of intensity and enthusiasm.

Appropriate dog care/safety/welfare

(0-2) Handler doesn't address dog's needs.
(3) Handler addresses dog's basic needs.
(4 - 6) Handler anticipates.


Accurate victim locations

(0) Doesn't find victim
(6) Locates victim

Accurate POD

(0-2) Doesn't know POD
(3) Appropriate POD
(4-6) Accurate POD

Mapping skills

(0-2) Poor mapping skills
(3) Adequate mapping skills
(4-6) Exceptional mapping skills

Building marking

(0) Doesn't mark building correctly {FAIL}
(6) 5 or 6 victims found {PASS}

Total false alerts

(0) More than 1 {FAIL}
(6) 1 OR 0 {PASS}

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