Good Dogs

A proposed ASTM International standard will provide a common way to test and certify a certain kind of search-and-rescue dog (trailing dog), to find missing people. The proposed standard (WK44540, Guide for Evaluating Trailing Search Dog Crews or Teams) will identify the expected minimal performance capabilities of a trailing team certification.

Trailing dogs can quickly determine direction of travel for a person's last known point, helping search managers deploy limited resources.

Many training organizations have developed their own tests, making it difficult to compare certifications for equivalency. Developing a common standard will allow organizations to easily evaluate each other's certifications, empowering search managers to most effectively use the teams arriving on the scene to help.

"The search for a lost or missing individual is commonly viewed as an emergency - the person being sought may be injured or suffering from a medical emergency," says ASTM member Lee Lang, a seasonal U.S. National Park Service protection ranger. "Search managers need to be able to rapidly deploy resources, such as a trailing dog, and be confident that dogs can perform at a minimal expected performance level."

All interested parties are welcome to join in the standards developing activities of Committee F32 on Search and Rescue. Lang notes that the committee has developed several key search and rescue standards in the last several years, and more are planned.

CONTACT Technical Information: A. Lee Lang • Fort Collins, Colo. • tel +1.307.399.1345 | ASTM Staff: Thomas O'Toole • Phone: 610-832-9739 | Upcoming Meeting: Nov. 8-9 • In conjunction with the International Technical Rescue Symposium • Portland, Ore.

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