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1. A simulated area should be selected.

2. The surface should be approximately 40 X 40 yard area.

3. At least one false hole (empty space) should be in the evaluation area.

4. A safety officer should inspect the holes. The holes should be wide enough so the subject can elbow out if necessary.

5. Post an avalanche look out.

6. The evaluations should be a two-victim problem. Subject #1 should be buried 4-5 feet and subject #2 should be buried 2-3 feet.

7. The subject should be placed on thermal padding, covered with canvas or blankets and shall be in place approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the evaluation.

8. The subjects must have radios with them at all times and be constantly monitored by safety officers. The radio must be placed by the subject’s mouth for safety.

9. The subjects shall hold gloves or an other clothing item near their shoulder or neck for the dog to recover.

10. Before closing the hole, the subject’s head location must be marked by unobtrusive positioning of ski poles, or equipment for triangulation.

11. A safety radio contact must be assigned to each subject.

12. During the entire time the subject is buried, the radio operator must maintain constant contact with the subject. Each subject must be on a different radio frequency.

13. A minimum of three people to shovel snow off of the subject will be present and nearby each subject.

14. The subjects will be immediately uncovered on any indication of distress or failure to respond verbally over the radio.

15. To successfully complete the evaluation the dog must locate subjects/victims within 20 minutes.


Dog Skills;

  • Transport with handler by ski lift
  • Transport without handler by snowcat or snow-mobile

Handler Requirements;

  • Winter survival skills
  • Proper clothing, equipment (probe pole, shovel)
  • Over-snow travel (cross-country skis, snowshoes, downhill skis)
  • Knowledge of avalanches
  • Avalanche safety
  • Run out zones, deposition zone
  • Survival statistics
  • Avalanche rescue (including probing techniques)
  • Use of Skadi/Pieps, avalanche cord

Mutual Aid Guidelines for SAR Disaster Dogs

Revised 1/18/2005

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