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Steps to Becoming an Operational Wilderness Handler for DOGS-East Search and Rescue (SAR)

1.     Submit a release, an application, and one-time $45.00 fee no later than the 4th training session with DOGS-East

2.     Standards committee votes on application before the end of the next quarter

3.     Now can be utilized to assist in base on searches.

4.     Pass walker check list

5.     Now applicant can go as a walker on searches.

6.     Pass basic obedience test

7.     Now can take dog to demonstrations

8.     Pass 20/20

9.     Standards committee votes on raising applicant to candidate status.

10. Candidates can vote at business meetings

11. Take written test, survival night test, advanced obedience test, 40 acre night test, and 160 acre multiple victim test, the order the tests are taken in doesn't matter. in addition, CPR and First aid certifications must be current.

12. Standards committee votes on raising candidate to operational status

13. Once operational you are issued a state patch, radios, pager, life vest, SAR magnet for car, paperwork and reimbursed for red jacket

14. You are now an operational dog handler for wilderness missions

15. You can now vote at standards meetings

16. Within 2 years of being operational (if not before) you must take the state MLSO class or pass the DE equivalence test.

17. Participate in 5 wilderness search missions and 2 public relations activities.

18. Standards committee votes on raising operational member to incident commander.

19. Recertify as an operational dog handler every year.


Time Line and Attendance Requirements

  1. Members must attend 50% of scheduled training sessions

  2. Applicants have 6 months to complete the requirements to become a candidate.  An extension of up to 6 months may be granted by the Board of Directors.

  3. Candidates have 1 year to complete the requirements to become operational dog handlers.  An extension of up to 6 months may be granted by the Board of Directors.

  4. Operational dog handlers have 2 years to complete the requirements of becoming an Incident Commander.

  5. Recertification must take place every 2 years.  The test can be taken up to 3 months before or 3 months after the anniversary date.

  6. The member must complete the National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses required by the State of Virginia to reach Operational status.