Okay last week we discussed the the prerequisites for taking our Wilderness Area Search Test. So I figured a good natural progression for our Satuday together would be to go directly into the actual test. What is involved in the test?
The test is set up on a plot of land that is somewhere around forty acres in size. There are up to two victims hidden but we are not told how many. The victims are placed in the testing area about one hour before the K-9 team is allowed to search. The search starts after the one hour mark. The victims must be hidden from plain view.
Next, the canine must have a trained behavior indicating to the handler and the evaluator that the victim was located. The K-9 handler must report to the evaluator what that indication is before testing. We must locate all victims within a two hour time frame. This two hours includes any breaks given to rest and water the K-9 team.
The search strategy is completely left up to the K-9 handler. Wow, just a quick sidebar maybe I will write a little about search strategy at a later date. It’s hard to believe that I have not brought it up. Anyway, the dog team gets some time to look over maps etcetera and think through their search. Of course the best game plan thought through will totally change as soon as you actually get on scene. They also change as soon as you release your dog to search. But, we need to advise the evaluator of our search plan before starting.
We need to show that we have covered the search area adequately and show the evaluator the location of the victim or victims on a map using GPS technology. Finally, we submit an after action report to show report writing skills.
It seems like a lot and it could be. Fortunately our team training will kick in and we will cover everything that needs to be completed. Hopefully we will be passing the evaluation.