COLLEGE STATION – Maggie, the first urban search and rescue canine purchased by TEEX for Texas Task Force 1 under the Federal Cooperative Agreement Grant, was certified May 7 in Virginia as a Type II canine by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Type II certification covers five general areas: off-leash obedience, agility, maneuverability, bark alerting skills and rubble pile navigation.
Maggie joins 11 other certified canines on the TEEX-sponsored Texas Task Force 1. Task Force member and canine handler Mike McKenna has been intensively training Maggie for the certification. Both he and the black Labrador must be re-certified at least every two years in order to maintain urban search and rescue certifications.
“It was an honor to represent our Task Force in the winner’s circle’ at last,” McKenna said. “To see little Maggie perform so well during her test was a real pleasure.”
Texas Task Force 1 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams under the direction of FEMA, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. It also serves as a state urban search and rescue team under the direction of the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management. The Task Force will be sending another canine for certification next month.
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.