On Saturday January 28, 2012 the RI Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Canine Team conducted their first International Police Work Dog Association Type II Disaster/Cadaver search evaluation for three of their canine teams. The evaluations were conducted in North Kingstown and East Greenwich. The teams were evaluated by Master Trainer Sergeant Matthew Zarrella of the Rhode Island State Police and Search Evaluator Captain Mike LeClair of the North Kingstown Fire Department. Both men are Canine Search Team Managers for Rhode Island's USAR and evaluators for the International Police Work Dog Association.
The Disaster/Cadaver search standards were created to provide state USAR teams with a reliable certification for the growing number of canine teams working around the United States to search for human remains in a disaster scenario.
The following handlers and canines passed the evaluation: Bob St. Martin and K-9 Pike of RI TF-1 and MA FEMA TF-1, Janet Merrill and K-9 Adler of RI TF1 and MA FEMA TF-1 and Jen Anderson and K- 9 Asa of RI TF-1. All three handlers worked extremely hard with their dogs for long hours and in all types of weather on a volunteer basis to achieve this level of proficiency. Additionally, all costs associated with the training and preparation for certification are the responsibility of the individual canine handler. These handlers and their dogs are the first volunteer teams in the history of State of Rhode Island to ever be put through this vigorous evaluation process.
This dedication to service and humanity is extremely honorable and appreciated by their teammates, co workers and colleagues within the search and rescue community as well as the general public. Each test took approximately 2 hours to conduct and included a strict obedience and agility phase as well as a ridged rubble pile search where the canines were required to locate a minimum of two training aids whose whereabouts were unknown to the handlers.
For more information about Rhode Island's USAR team, visit http://riusar.com