Each canine/handler team must pass a rigorous certification in urban search and rescue, and must be re-certified every three years.
Handlers are tested on search strategies and tactics, mapping, search and victim markings, briefing and debriefing skills, in addition to canine handling skills.
Canines are tested on command response, agility skills, a focused bark alert and willingness to persist to search for live victims in spite of extreme temperatures, food and noise distractions. The canine must also be confident enough to search independently and be able to negotiate slippery surfaces, balance wobbly objects underneath its feet and go through dark tunnels.
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