SAR Test

The SAR Test is designed to test the K9’s ability and proficiency in searching designated areas for the scent of a human. This testing is also intended to test the handler’s ability to read the alert/indication of their K9.

SAR certification consists of three (3) parts for Search and Rescue teams. The SAR test includes a basic odor recognition test in addition to a land and water search. The basic odor recognition test must be completed before the SAR team can participate in the land and water searches.

All safety precautions for biohazards will be followed at all timesNo teeth, dry bleached bones or pseudo aids may be used for this certification. The handler will inform the Master Trainer of the alert the K9 will give upon a positive find. The handler may not “cue” or help the K9, except to motivate and encourage the K9 to work. The K9 must indicate both training aids and must not indicate on the animal remains, to successfully pass this test. Alerts or indications to the animal remains, consumption of any amount of the “hides” or alerting or indicating to the blank areas are all grounds for failure. The handler shall advise the Master Trainer of how the K9 alerts or indicates prior to testing. If the testing team has any misses, the test will be considered a failure. The team may attempt one (1) re-test, on the same day, if circumstances permit. If the team fails a second time on the same day, the team can be re-tested at the discretion of the Master Trainer. Teams must pass all areas of testing in the same certification day.

There will be no time limits on the test as long as the Master Trainer determines that the team is working. The Master Trainer reserves the right to modify this test based on environmental conditions. If the test is modified, the Master Trainer will inform the handler of the changes before the start of the test. The test is a pass/fail test.

All teams desiring to be tested must provide all training aids and safety items, i.e. latex gloves, personal flotation devices. Teams must also provide their own boats as well as any equipment required to complete the test. All teams should be able to show a general knowledge of safety precautions, search techniques and GPS usage.


SAR Odor Recognition Test

This test should be conducted indoors to limit wind and weather effects on the test. A twenty (20) minute set-up time is suggested before beginning the test. The handler may supply single or double holed cinder blocks with a perforated cover, a drop-in container with perforated top, wood boxes with a drop-in container and a perforated top, small cardboard box with a drop-in container and a perforated top or any other available container acceptable to the Master Trainer. Each container will be free of external markings and all perforations will be small enough to eliminate the presence of visual clues. There should be a minimum of twelve (12) containers and there should be at least two (2) training aids placed in the containers, with the locations unknown to the testing team. A small portion of animal remains should be placed in one (1) of the remaining ten (10) containers as a distraction material.

Land Search

Collapsed Structure: Rubble area or rubble piles may be used to simulate a collapsed structure.

Open Area: Training aids should be covered with dirt, leaves or brush. Training aids should be buried in a highly vegetated area or woods. The buried training aid should be placed at a depth of twelve (12) inches and several “clean” holes should be in the same general location. Training aids should also be placed in an elevated position, no higher than six (6) feet above the surface.

Vehicles: Vehicle interiors will be included in the Land Search. It is recommended that six (6) vehicles be used. A minimum of two (2) vehicles having training aids hidden inside and four (4) having no training aids.

Water Search

Shoreline: The search area will be approximately 100 yards or more in length. The training aid, if placed, will be placed off-shore in approximately two (2) to four (4) feet of water.

Running Water: The K9 team will be required to search an open moving or running area of water (such as a stream, creek or river). The team will be required to conduct the search from a boat. The search area will be determined by site availability, with an area of 50 yards by 100 yards or more, preferable. Two (2) or more people will stand along the shoreline to act as distractions to the team. Other distractions, approved by the Master Trainer, may be substituted.

Open Water: The training aid will be placed off shore at a reasonable depth, depending on site availability, but is recommended to be in water no less than six (6) feet. No divers may be used for this search. . Two (2) or more people will stand along the shoreline to act as distractions to the team. Other distractions, approved by the Master Trainer, may be substituted.

Any urinating/defecating in training or testing area and/or around a “hide” is immediate grounds for failure!

The SAR Certification will remain in effect for one year as long as a good member in standing with NAPCH and the Team remains intact.