~ You must be 18 or older to join. No exceptions.
~ You are invited to observe a training session with our team (without your dog)and let you see how we work.
~ Attend an interview with Team Officers.
~ If you are still interested, fill out an application to Sedgwick County Emergency Management (this includes a background check).
~ Your K9 is evaluated by one of our Officers (if you are interested in joining with a K9). If the dog does not pass the evaluation, it must complete an outside obedience course and be evaluated a second time before acceptance into training. Not all dogs are accepted into training, speak to an officer about this in more detail.
~ If you miss the observation training session, it is YOUR responsibility to contact SCEMK9 for future training sessions.
~ Your Probationary period of 120 days with the K9 Team starts at the first training session you attend after you turn in your completed application.
~ After your probationary period and if your background check is clear and you are accepted on to the SCEMK9 team.
What Can I be Doing to Prepare Before Joining?
Read and learn all you can about the subject of SAR, you can find this information on the Internet
There are also many books in print about Search and Rescue and K9 training.
Obtain First Aid and CPR certification, You can do this through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
What About My Dog?
Obedience, socialize, obedience.
The most common reasons for dogs not passing the evaluation is inattentiveness to the handler, lack of a bond with the handler, and poor socialization with people and other animals. Taking an obedience class will help with all of these aspects. We recommend several options. Chisholm Creek Kennels obedience classes, Oak Crest Pet Hospital Obedience classes or contact us for information on special lessons in Clearwater, Kansas. The latter being taught by a SCEMK9 member.
What you should consider before joining a SAR Team...
But there are so many, how do you chose a reputable team and the right one for you?
This page will give you information compiled by our team. It reflects our views of what we believe makes a good SAR team and answers some additional questions you may have. This page is directed towards SAR in our geographical area and this information may vary across the country as different groups have a focus on different types of searching.
This is an important part of a SAR Team for obvious reasons. How often do members train as a team? What does their training encompass? Does the team train in both K-9 and handler skills? Are they required to train on their "off" time? Are there tests? Required sessions? Does the team endorse one method of training or are they open to new and different techniques? Are all K-9's required to do a specific type of
searching or is the dog allowed to "choose" the type of work it is best suited for?
A responsible team will document all training sessions. This is for the handler to read at a later date and track their progress, accomplishments, and areas of improvement. It is also considered a legal document proving that the team completed the assigned tasks and training.
The team should have established standards. They should be adhered to and followed. Standards should encompass both K-9 and handler skills. Are members required to attend a certain percentage of time or are they allowed to participate at random intervals? Are handlers and K-9's expected to pass an evaluation only once or are they required to show proficiency in their area of expertise from time to time? Is any and every dog accepted? Does the team do their own internal evaluations or invite outside personnel to provide an objective viewpoint?
Chain of Command
Does the team have a system in place for checks and balances? Do they have a system set up for problem solving and, equally important, member input? Are the leaders fair? Check to see if the team allows for member input or is it the decision of one individual what the team does or doesn't do?
Does the team you are considering joining complete background checks on potential handlers? Due to the nature of the SAR Team mission, this is very important. If a team states they do background checks, make sure they actually complete them.
Safety and Experience
Does the team follow appropriate safety practices during drills and responses? Do they teach cadaver handling skills or safety while on a tower teaching rope and rescue techniques? Do they observe factors concerning weather safety? Use appropriate equipment? Do they enforce these practices at all times? Do members have previous background and experience in multiple areas concerning SAR, K-9 training, or other fields not related to dog training? Do they deploy the appropriate K-9 and handler resources in an emergency?
Visit and Observe
Make it a point to visit with each team you are considering joining, meet the members, and ask questions. Is the team courteous, professional, and helpful to all members? Talk to members and see how they feel about the team and ask why they decided to join. You will get varying answers. Visit various SAR Teams in the same area if there are any and compare information. Reflect on the reasons you wanted to join a SAR team and you will see which team is right for you.
Are the people fun? Or are they overly regimented and militaristic? You will be spending a great deal of time with your new team, be sure you get along and can cooperate. SAR is a serious endeavor and training should not be just a social gathering. But training sessions should be fun for both you and your canine partner.
Why should you considering joining SCEMK9?
SCEMK9 was developed to combine the existing resources from other teams regarding K-9 SAR in our area.
Our team is covered by workman's compensation insurance when at scheduled training sessions and responses.
We have the resources of any department within Sedgwick County at our disposal. We are fortunate enough to have our own station to meet at, train in, respond from, and store equipment.
We not only require skills of our K-9's, but from our handlers as well. We have a minimum attendance policy allowing us to assure K-9's and handlers are receiving the proper instruction and training. K-9's are evaluated every other year to prove proficiency.
Not all dogs are accepted. K-9's must pass a temperament evaluation prior to joining. We allow our handlers and canines to "choose" the type of work they will be doing. We believe that most dogs that are a "jack of all trades" are truly a "master of none". Although some dogs are fully capable of being crossed trained, we do not require it. We do not want to pass up an excellent Human Remains Detection Dog by requiring it to learn Tracking prior to anything else, if the dog isn't inclined to track.
There are periodical meetings of Officers and Handlers to address any issues and bring to light new ideas and resources for the team.
Our Emergency Management Department completes all background checks. We use all the members backgrounds and experiences to better our team and follow safety practices at all times. If a member is not following proper procedure, he is released from the training session until the problem is resolved.
We also welcome questions about our team, and ask that you attend theInterested Members meeting to get all the needed information prior to joining.
Lastly, we have fun. We view each other as an extended family and call upon each other as friends as well as working partners. We help our friends out in times of need and enjoy each others company. We receive many positive comments about the team camaraderie and yet, at the same time, the professionalism of our team.
Other General Information
There is a long list of information we would like to include here regarding our minimal time commitment that must be met at training in order to remain on the team, specifics regarding the probationary period, etc. Instead of listing them, we feel it is easier to explain this and many other pieces of information when you meet with the Officers.