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Golden Retriever Club of BC
Dedicated to responsible breeding and ownership through education
Search & Rescue

What is Search and Rescue?
The search and rescue field has a number of different aspects to it hear in British Columbia.  Most "search and rescue" groups in BC are volunteer, for example most of you will have heard of North Shore Search & Rescue and some of you may have even heard of Coquitlam Search & Rescue.  These are just a few of the local search and rescue groups here in BC and there are many more.

All these groups fall under the jurisdiction of PEP (Provincial Emergency Program) and are made up of volunteers from around the local community.  The groups meet on a regular basis and conduct a variety of training exercises.  Most of the training is sanctioned by the Justice Institute of BC and is coordinated with PEP.

There is however another search and rescue group located in Vancouver and it also comes under the umbrella of PEP and that is Vancouver Urban Search & Rescue [Canada Task Force I (CAN TF-1)]  Can TF-1 is made up of professional that are trained in the location of "lost" people but in the urban setting, for example victims of an earthquake.

How can I get started in this with my Golden?
In order to get started in the search and rescue field you would first need to have a look in you particular area and see if there is a PEP sponsored team working in your community, if not look for one close by.  Most of the teams will have a "recruitment person" that you can get in touch with and they can advise you as to there particular schedule as to recruitment.  Once you are on board with a team you can then discuss with your local RCMP PDS (Police Dog Services) member as to how you can train you and your dog to be part of the civilian search dog team. 

What types of Certification are there for SAR?
SAR has many differant certifications.  Before any SAR team is willing to put "you" into the field they want to be comfortable that you, are comfortable in the "wilderness."  You will therefore need to be certified in GSAR (Ground Search & Rescue) and that can take several months to complete.  Of course you will need to be certified in some basic first aid and understand how to use a map and compass as well as various other back country and urban travel skills. 
How do my dog and I get certified in SAR?
To get your dog certified in SAR is not a long process, it's getting on a team and getting yourself certified first.  PEP wants to make very sure that all the SAR groups in BC that are putting people (potentially at risk) are well trained and able to look after themselves if they should ever get into trouble.  It often looks very glamorous, but it has taken those folks you see on the 6 o'clock news a lot of training to get there. 
Where can I learn more about Search and Rescue?
To learn more there are a number of great web sites and I would first have you look at the local SAR sites:
These are a couple of sites to get you started and you will find they take you to all sorts of interesting places.