Position Specific Requirements


Canine Search Specialist


The Canine Search Specialist is primarily responsible for supporting the Search function

with the canine resource. He/she is also responsible for the care and welfare of the canine

during mission deployment. The Canine Search Specialist reports to the Search Team



Description of Duties


The Canine Search Specialist is responsible for:

Searching disaster environments and locations indicated in the mission assignment,

using appropriate canine search equipment and techniques.

Documenting results of the canine search, including locations of alerts, and routing

them appropriately.

Understanding and accurately interpreting canine’s behavior, including knowledge of

the capabilities and limitations of search canines.

Care and welfare of their canine, including assisting the Medical team in the canine’s

medical care.


Individuals who meet the following requirements and criteria will be eligible to become

Canine Search Specialists in the DHS/FEMA US&R Response System. The intent of these

requirements are to provide canine teams capable of using the search techniques and

tactics required to support the Search function with the canine resource in various disaster



Required Training:


The Canine Search Specialist shall:

1. Meet all General Training requirements

2. Have current certification as a DHS/FEMA Canine Search Specialist Team.

3. Complete the DHS/FEMA Canine Search Specialist Training Course.

4. Have current certification in Basic First Aid, or equivalent.

4. Complete the GPS Awareness Level course

5. Complete the required Technical Rescue Skill Sets as defined in Appendix A of the

Position Description Manual.


Recommended Training:


The Canine Search Specialist should have:

1. Completed the DHS/FEMA Technical Search Specialist Course.

2. Completed DHS/FEMA GPS Operations (8 hours)

3. Completed the K-9 Down course (16 hrs, see k9down.com), or equivalent

Technical Rescue Skill Sets

Minimum skill set recommendations for Task Force Personnel who enter the hazard

zone, i.e. forward deployment:

  • General Requirements of NFPA 1670
  • Rope Rescue Awareness per NFPA 1670*
  • Confined Space Rescue Awareness per NFPA 1670
  • Structural Collapse Awareness, NFPA 1670
  • Duties of the Entrant per 29 CFR 1910.146


* Additional Required Rope Rescue skills;


o Safety considerations during rope rescue operations

o Characteristics of life safety rope and webbing

o Application of rope rescue hardware specific to a lowering operation

o Application of rope rescue hardware and software specific to a belay line

o Assemble and apply a Class III harness

o Assemble and apply a “Hasty Harness”

o Tie a Simple Figure eight knot

o Tie a Figure Eight follow-through knot

o Tie an overhand follow-through with webbing

o Attach a prusik loop to a rope

o Be familiar with anchor systems

o Be familiar with raising and lowering systems

o Proficiency at attaching yourself to, and participating in a raising or

lowering system

o Proficiency at descending and ascending a fixed line, low angle

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