The USAR Search Dog Association held it inaugural meeting on the 2nd August 2003 in Wellington.
Before this time there were a limited number of individuals and groups training disaster search dogs around the country, particularly in Auckland, Wellington/Palmerston North and Christchurch but there were no national standards, national coordination or real national recognition of the need for a well trained, coordinated search dog capacity to assist in disaster situations. Several avalanche focused handlers also cross trained their dogs for disaster.
In the early 2000's the overall NZ Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capability was being reviewed with a view to a major injection of resources based on our risk profile. The crusade for search dogs as part of this capability was led by Ian Craig from Christchurch. Ian had long been an advocate for search dogs in several areas and was previously himself a Bloodhound handler for Wilderness work. Ians enthusiasm carried others with him. In 2001 he facilitated a workshop in CHCH to discuss the development of national standards based on the FEMA model. This workshop included some of our current or past handlers including Linda Pike, Matt Dodd, Janelle Mackie and Graham Joseph.
Soon after the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, who were leading the USAR project, got behind Ian with Steve Glassey and Dave Brunsdon having significant input. Another workshop was held in Christchurch and one held in Palmerston North, and the first national assessment scheduled for March 2003 in PN. Paul George as a senior Police Dog Handler was asked to assist with the assessment process and on March 8, 2003 the first USAR team (Rachel Hume and Gin) were certified. Tragically Ian passed away 3 days later and never got to see his own team members Brenda Woolley with Milo and Linda Pike with Mij certify soon after (May 2003).
Paul George and Jenny Waters (vet assessor) have been involved with every assessment since that time. Some other significant events that the USAR SDA have coordinated include National and Regional Training weekends, standards review, recruitment initiatives and development of publicity material including the website
ABOUT USAR SEARCH DOGS
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Search Dogs are unique and incredibly valuable as a resource in the location of people trapped following the collapse of structures. The fast and effective location of trapped victims increases their chances of rescue and recovery.read more
USAR SEARCH DOG DEPLOYMENTS
On Feburary 22 at 12:51pm a large earthquake struck close to Christchurch. The faultline that caused this quake was previously unknown and located under the picturesque Port Hills which overlook Christchurch. The two sides of the fault moved past each other about 1.5M and have caused approx 40cm height increase in the hills.read more
USAR Dogs NZ History
The USAR Search Dog Association held it inaugural meeting on the 2nd August 2003 in Wellington. Before this time there were a limited number of individuals and groups training disaster search dogs around the country ...read more