Search and rescue dog training takes place in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — About 20 dogs from across the country put their search and rescue skills to the test in Virginia Beach.

The dogs were training to deal with the potential impact of a hurricane. Eric Darling organized the nationwide training event and he is the co-founder of Superfit Canine.

For him and his Search and Rescue dog, Ben, training to save lives is fun, but they take it seriously.

“It really takes a unique dog to climb a fifty-foot ladder up to the third story window by themselves with no fear to find the person they’re looking for,” Darling said.

The training was at the Harry E. Diezel Virginia Beach Fire Training Center.

Virginia Beach Public Information Officer, Art Kohn said the training facility is full of obstacles, and hiding places inside buildings and outside.

For two days, these dogs trained to find people, using their super sense of smell. The heat, humidity, and noise in Virginia Beach created the perfect condition to simulate a hurricane disaster.

This is the 6th time the training is being held in Virginian Beach. Dogs and their handlers spend hundreds of hours of bonding, which helps the results of practice rescues and accurate finding of people hidden throughout the training center.

Depending on the conditions, a well-trained dog can smell a person from up to a quarter mile away.

The Search Dog Foundation estimates it costs about $30,000 to train a Search and Rescue (SSAR) dog.

However Karen Medows, a K-9 research specialist for search and rescue organization, Task Force 2 said the work the dogs do is worth the cost.

“This [the dog’s work] really does cut down our time as far as searching for someone,” said Medows.

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