A group of 23 search specialists and their dogs are testing for FEMA disaster preparedness certification evaluation this weekend in Phoenix.
A trained disaster search dog must have 2000 hours of training, a committed trainer, a motivated training group and a successful completion of a nationally administered certification test.
The certification test, being hosted by Arizona Task Force (AZ-TF1), includes testing the dogs' obedience, agility, alert behavior, and handler skill.
The dog will have to search a two 6,000- to 15,000-square-foot disaster areas, find completely buried live victims all while ignoring distractions like food, clothing and dog toys. Any false alert by a dog will result in an automatic failure.
After a dog and their handler are certified they will be able to be deployed locally, nationally and internationally with a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team, just like the task force AZ-TF1 here in Phoenix.
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