COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) hosted 20 canine search and rescue teams representing 10 states during the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Advanced National Disaster Canine Evaluation, Jan. 14-16, at Disaster City.
Three canine teams from the TEEX-sponsored Texas Task Force 1 earned FEMA advanced certification, adding to the elite handful of advanced canine search and rescue teams in the United States.
The prestigious event received rave reviews from both the FEMA evaluators and canine handlers. The event marked the first time FEMA has held an advanced canine evaluation in Texas, and staff from TEEX’s Urban Search and Rescue division ensured that the evaluators, handlers and canines left lasting memories of Texas hospitality.
It takes approximately two years for a canine to become “mission ready” and able to participate in the FEMA evaluation. Handlers train their dogs extensively in the areas of obedience, agility, directability and rubble search. Training time requires hundreds of hours, and handlers provide their services on a volunteer basis. They also supply their own equipment and often train for years with their dog before participating in the stringent FEMA evaluations.
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond.