News release from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
By: Jennifer Massey
Canine Search Specialist
Virginia Task Force 1
Congratulations Virginia Task Force 1 (VA-TF1) members Heather Sloan and K9 Pistol, Teresa MacPherson and K9 Port and Technician Paul Serzan (14-A) and K9 Angus for successfully completing the FEMA Live Find Canine Certification Evaluation! This was the third time each of these handlers have tested with these dogs – e.g. initial certification and two recertification’s. All canines and handlers take the same test regardless if it is the initial certification or a recertification.
Certification, which is valid for three years, requires the canine to locate and the handler to identify the location of up to six people who have been buried, in unknown locations, across two separate sites. The sites have been designed to simulate debris resulting from a natural or man-made disaster.
In addition to these three teams, thirteen other teams from across the country participated in this VA-TF1 hosted event at our training site in Lorton, VA this past Saturday and Sunday. There are approximately 250 certified canine teams within the FEMA system.
Obtaining this certification is no easy feat and we would like to congratulate all successful participants and thank all the personnel and volunteers who assisted in hosting this event.