K-9 certificationRescue dogs from across U.S. to participate in certification exercise

Published 5 June 2012

Rescue dogs and their handler teams must be re-certified every three years; the certification includes command control, agility tests, barking alert skills, and willingness to overcome fears of tunnels and wobbly surfaces under the guidance of the handler

Littleton, Massachusetts-based Aggregate Industries (AIUS), a member of the Holcim Group, and Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team (MA-TF 1 US&R), one of twenty-eight Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces in the United States, are hosting what is known as a FEMA Canine Certification. The event will be held on 9 and 10 June 2012, at the Aggregate Industries K-9 Testing Facility in Littleton, Massachusetts. Rescue dogs and their handlers will undergo rigorous testing, including a search for volunteer human “survivors” under piles of rubble.

We’re pleased and excited that Massachusetts Task Force 1 has selected Aggregate Industries to host the certification for the second time,” said Bernard Terver, president and chief executive officer of Aggregate Industries US. “FEMA, MA-TF 1, and the rescue dogs do an incredible job and perform an indispensable service to both our nation and the world. We’re thrilled to support FEMA’s crucial work and look forward to the event.”

AIUS says it built the Littleton K-9 Testing Facility in 2010 when the company first hosted the event. The course includes specially designed rubble piles to replicate situations where dogs must locate buried survivors. A realistic course like the one at AIUS is crucial to prepare the teams for emergencies where recovery is often a matter of life and death.

To be able to focus in the chaotic environment of a disaster-site, urban search and rescue dogs need to be comfortable working on rubble piles of collapsed buildings,” explained Anita Arnum, assistant program manager, Massachusetts Task Force 1. “This can only be achieved by training and testing exercises like the one in Littleton. We greatly appreciate the company’s contribution and ongoing support and thank them for providing us with realistic training conditions.”

Rescue dogs and their handler teams must be re-certified every three years. The certification includes command control, agility tests, barking alert skills, and willingness to overcome fears of tunnels and wobbly surfaces under the guidance of the handler.

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