11 SDF Search Teams Achieve Certification!

Congratulations to the Canine Disaster Search Teams who recently achieved Certification in California, New York, Oklahoma and Tennessee!

October and December have been great months for SDF trained Search Teams testing for Certification and Re-certification.

On October 27-28, five SDF-trained Search Teams achieved FEMA Certification for the very first time in their careers, while two teams Re-certified. Veteran Search Team Damon Wirth & George (Nebraska Task Force 1) re-certified for the final time and fellow-SDF trained Veteran Search Team Marshia Hall and Lilah (Florida Task Force 1) both traveled to Tennessee to re-certify. This certification keeps them deployable with their task forces for up to three years. Both Florida Task Force 1 and Nebraska Task Force 1 has deployed numerous times in the months before re-certifying, helping to search in the aftermath of several hurricanes battering the East Coast of the United States.

Over the same weekend, five of our Search Teams achieved Certification for the first time in Riverside, CA, placing them on the deployment roster for their respective task forces: Aide Barbat & Delta, Clint Schepe & Georgia, Billy Walkenhorst & Victor, and Joe Zakar & Dora (all of California Task Force 7, San Diego) and Vinnie Fuccella & Hank (California Task Force 7, Sacramento).

Just over a month later, two California teams braved the wet and dreary weather in Staten Island, NY at a FEMA Certification Evaluation hosted by NY-TF1 at the New York City Department of Sanitation’s facility. Both Cajun and Diva were part of the 2016 Search Dog Class and achieved their first certifications on June 5, 2016.

Finally, on December 15 and 16, Oklahoma-based Search Teams Adrienne Seibel & Gunny and Vincent Stoops & Magnum re-certified in Tulsa, OK. These teams are attached to their state task force and deploy to not only the state of Oklahoma, but to the surrounding states as well. Heading into tornado season in 2019, these teams are ready!

Certification is a major milestone in every team's career and we are so proud of them for working to get to this point. Each team must re-certify every three years to ensure they are up-to-date and ready to respond when needed.

The full line-up of Search Teams that Certified in October and December 2018 are:


  1. Aide Barbat & Delta (CA-TF8, San Diego)
  2. Vinnie Fuccella & Hank (CA-TF7, Sacramento)
  3. Clint Schepe & Georgia (CA-TF8, San Diego)
  4. Billy Walkenhorst & Victor (CA-TF8, San Diego)
  5. Joe Zakar & Dora (CA-TF8, San Diego)


  1. Jason Dobbins & Diva (CA-TF2, Los Angeles County)
  2. Josh Flores & Cajun (CA-TF2, Los Angeles County)
  3. Marshia Hall & Lilah (FL-TF1, Tampa)
  4. Adrienne Seibel & Gunny (OK-TF1, Tulsa)
  5. Vincent Stoops & Magnum (OK-TF1, Tulsa)
  6. Damon Wirth & George (NE-TF1, Lincoln)

Congratulations again to all our teams and thank you to everyone who helped support them thus far on their journeys!