K9 Sara

In search and rescue time is of essence.It was realized that dogs are a valuable resource on any searc and rescue operations. It was felt that a trained team of dogs, ready to go at a moment's notice, cut down on the time needed to get a Police Dog Unit out in the filed to assist SAPS dogs. K9 Search and Rescue Association were established to train civilian dogs and its handlers for rescue work. The dogs and its handlers constantly go under various training. The annual training includes all other voluntary organization to ensure harmony in case of major search and rescue operation.

This involves teams from Search and Rescue Unit of South Africa's, the Off-Road Rescue Unit, the South African Air Force, local nature conservation officials, representatives of Emergency Management Services, and sometimes visitors from the UK participating.

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This has then been brought back to the members and the teaching disseminated to the unit. This has proven to be invaluable when a search is being conducted.

Both units meet weekly for training of both the dogs and handlers. This involves both wilderness training (in open grassland, dense bush or trees and mountainous areas). The dogs are also trained on imitations disaster piles which mimic urban disasters where the dogs are trained to assist in finding victims buried in rubble.

The are full evaluations of the dogs at least once per annum. The dogs and handler are evaluated by a qualified judge in all three wilderness areas in order to qualify for call outs. K9 has been involved in about 18 activities which were not necessarily aeronautical and maritime search and rescue.

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