Canine Search Specialist Training STM Unit 12A: Canine Search Operations
Unit Objective Upon completion of this unit, you will be able to identify the Search Team Manager’s responsibilities during canine search operations
Enabling Objectives • Describe the components of the reconnaissance team • List the information that needs to be communicated to the canine team during a deployment • Identify the types of searches employed during a deployment
Enabling Objectives (continued) • List the key safety considerations during search operations • Identify the key considerations associated with victims • List the responsibilities related to post-mission duties
Canine Deployment • LCES • Perimeter of the search area • Current weather conditions, including • Time of day • Weather conditions • Air currents • Temperature
Canine Deployment (continued) • Boundaries that have been established • Observers • Type of structure and collapse • Intelligence
Work Time • Time canine is allowed to work is usually 20 minutes • However, time period is variable and dependent on several factors including • Canine conditioning • Environmental temperature • Type of structure involved
Briefing • Briefing will include safety and site information team needs to know • This briefing will cover • Rescue infrastructure in place • Entrances and exits (blue prints, site map) What area(s) have already been searched • Should include answers to the following questions
What has been searched? How and by whom? (If possible to talk to them) Have occupants been accounted for and by whom? Any sounds from the structure? Any known missing and where were they last seen? Can you interview the person reporting the missing? Have canines searched area, and if so, what were their findings? Briefing (continued)
Briefing (continued) • Utilities • Are utilities (gas, electric and water) been secured and if so, by who?
Briefing (continued) • Environment • What type of collapse? • Is the building stable? If not, can the canines search it? • Any Hazardous Materials? • Any hazardous conditions (overhead hazards, rubble hazards, equipment hazards, and so forth)?
Briefing (continued) • Decontamination • Is a decon area set up? • If not, what is the contingence?
Preparation for Search • Things to consider • Does the area need to be cleared of rescuers or convergent volunteers? • Is equipment operating in search area? • Check wind conditions and note time of day • Provide for observers to advise handler if canine is out of area
Preparation for Search (continued) • Also keep in mind that the Search Manager will have to wear a safety officer’s cap, too
A Few Other Things to Keep in Mind • STM should act as a liaison with other on-scene agencies • Use your canine handler’s experience to help determine how to best search the site • STM establishes the search area • Determine if this is a Hasty, Primary, or a Secondary search
A Few Other Things to Keep in Mind (continued) • Dependent on structural stability of building, determine how building is to be searched • Canine handler should brief the STM • Use the wind to your advantage and work canines into it • Use your intelligence to your advantage • Try to keep resources as fresh as possible
A Few Other Things to Keep in Mind (continued) • Weather plays a big part in working a site • If canines are not working they should be down in a rest area, preferably in crate
Detection Versus Location • In the detection mode (hasty/primary search) handler should be moving over large areas quickly • The location search mode (secondary search) teams will do a grid search • Canines will be used in conjunction with technical search
STM’s Duties During a Search • Ensuring the safety for all team members (LCES) • Observing the working canine team • Remembering where alerts were and noting whether the alert was weak or strong • Observing any changes in the canine’s behavior • The change could mean the presence of a deceased victim.
STM’s Duties During a Search (continued) • Recognizing search areas not covered and advising handler as appropriate • Preparing to bring in additional canine when needed • Assessing the canine’s performance • Includes obedience, alerts, agility, and teamwork • Done daily and documented for future reference
Debriefing • Canine team should be debriefed on their findings • Handler should draw a map of the search site • Show alerts, and indicate the time and type of alert • Quick “hot wash” of the search can be done
Victims • Live versus deceased • Much discussion on subject • Finding live victims is primary • Will the disaster search dog ever find deceased victims? • Finding and recovering deceased victims does provide many families with closure
Victims (continued) • Alerts • Canine will do bark alert on a live victim • Bark alert says, “I found a victim!” • Canine’s focus and penetration shows where scent is coming out from and victim’s possible location • You may notice the canine’s alerts may decrease when working in blitz mode for long periods
Victims (continued) • Contact with the victim • If contact with victim is made in detection mode, reassure victim resources are coming • May have to leave victim in order to continue Hasty search • Interview victim concerning other possible victims and their locations • Determine if there are any injuries • In the location mode, teams will stay with victim and reassurance will be established
Victims (continued) • Marking the victim’s location • Use search stickers and victim marking system to indicate victim’s location • Do not use flagging as it can be removed, especially when delayering • Do not use paint as it can deface structures
Victims (continued) • Victim removal • After victim removal, reevaluate the area and do a secondary search • If possible, interview the victim
Additional On-Site Considerations • Decontamination • Establish canine decontamination area at BoO or as determined by IST • Handlers usually have shampoo to bathe canines • Check with HAZMAT Manager to make sure shampoo will not react with contaminants • Handler may only have to spot wash the canine • Be sure to blow dry the canines
Additional On-Site Considerations (continued) • Wet canines • Never put canines back in their kennels wet • Kennels should be washed, dried, and bedding replaced
At the Completion of the Mission (continued) • Documentation • Task force operations report • ICS Form 214 • Mapping of all alerts and hits, confirmation, and location of confirmed victims
Unit Summary • Describe the components of the reconnaissance team • List the information that needs to be communicated to the canine team during a deployment • Identify the types of searches employed during a deployment
Unit Summary (continued) • List the key safety considerations during search operations • Identify the key considerations associated with victims • List the responsibilities related to post-mission duties
Unit Evaluation Please fill out the evaluation form for this unit