So You’re Thinking of Joining the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue K9 Team?
Great! We’re excited for the opportunity to add you to our ranks. There are a few things you should consider if you want to join a search and rescue team in general, and a few things to know about our K9 team before you commit.
Wilderness search and rescue requires people who are comfortable with being self-reliant in the wilderness for many hours, and sometimes overnight. Being on a SAR team requires training and teamwork! The team is counting on you, just as you are counting on them, to have the knowledge and skills to be safe and effective in a wilderness environment. Therefore, joining a SAR team is a significant commitment of time and effort, and includes a financial commitment as well for gear and supplies.
Being a search dog handler requires an extra commitment of time, energy, and money. In addition to the time required for your main SAR unit status, you will spend additional time meeting K9 specific requirements. The K9 team holds a monthly membership meeting and trainings for handlers and field support are held nearly every weekend.
When you first join you will be busy! There are a number of general emergency management classes that you will need to take, like incident command system, bloodborne pathogens training and CPR. You will need to learn navigation as well as specific information about training a search dog.
Training is continuous and ongoing. Certifying a search dog to our standards will take between 18 – 24 months, and regular re-certifcation is required.
Certified Field Support Status (without a dog) can generally be achieved in 6 – 9 months.
Joining the K9 Team
Our K9 teams are made up of the handler, the dog and a field support person. We accept members to our team who wish to be a dog handler, but also love to have non-dog handlers to be part of our field support team. Each position has unique, but important, aspects to it.
SAR dog handlers and field support members must enjoy working with dogs and being in the outdoors in all kinds of weather. You must be physically fit and able to respond to call outs at all times of the day and night. You will need to become proficient in land navigation, map and compass, radio communications, wilderness survival , and first aid (both human and canine!). You will also need reliable transportation and be able to pass a criminal background check.
We are very proud of the work we do! Our dogs and our teams are priceless resources when someone goes missing. With the ability of our dog’s sense of smell and our team’s expertise, we increase the chances of the lost or missing being found quickly and thereby increasing the speed of their rescue or recovery.
If you think you have what it takes to be a member of the K9 team, please contact us for more information.
Before joining the K9 Team you must join a unit of Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue. Click here for more information.
We look forward to meeting you!