15 SDF-Trained Search Teams Deployed to Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

AUGUST 31, 2017 – 10 PM LOCAL TIME

With meteorologists calling Harvey the worst natural disaster in American history, an additional SDF-trained Canine Disaster Search Team was added to the national roster of those responding to this storm. Search Team Wade Haller & Rex, with California Task Force 5 (based in Orange County), have deployed as well, bringing the total number of SDF teams on the way and on the ground in Texas to 15.


It’s Day 5 of our Search Teams' deployment to Texas following the arrival of Tropical Storm Harvey, which made landfall on Friday evening. The government continues to bring in additional Task Force assistance to help primarily with water rescues given the severity of the rising floods, but SDF-trained Canine Disaster Search Teams are searching where they can. To add to the already complicated and dangerous situation, the deluge of water is expected to continue through the end of the week, as Tropical Storm Harvey has moved north into Louisiana today.

Reports indicate that on higher ground and in towns where flood water has receded already, teams like Plano Rescue Firefighter Robert Grant and his canine partner Rocky of Texas Task Force 2 are searching for anyone trapped and in need of assistance. (photo above taken on the ground in Rockport, TX)

Given the nature of this deployment, and out of respect for Task Force regulations and keeping our handlers focused on the job at hand, it is difficult to get updates from the field. We will continue to update this page throughout this incident to bring you the latest news, and media coverage regarding our teams.


As Tropical Storm Harvey hit the Gulf Coast yesterday, additional Canine Disaster Search Teams were deployed with Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces from across the country, including 4 SDF-trained* Search Teams, bringing the total number of SDF teams on the way and on the ground in Texas to 14:

California Task Force 1 (Los Angeles Fire)

  • Eric Ingstad & Java

California Task Force 4 (Oakland)

  • Mike Stornetta & Rocket

California Task Force 8 (San Diego)

  • Brent Brainard & Decker
  • Linda D'Orsi & Haley

As the teams arrive in Texas and assess where their assistance is needed, we will share updates as quickly as possible. First and foremost, we want to be sure the teams are focused on the mission - helping the people of Texas stay safe in the aftermath of this fierce storm.

We wish the best of luck to the rescuers enroute and on the ground as well as keep the citizens of Texas in our thoughts as they deal with this disaster.


Santa Paula Nonprofit Sends Search and Rescue Dogs to Aid in Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Santa Paula-trained dogs search for victims after Hurricane Harvey hits Texas coast

Photos: Trained in California, These Search Dogs and Their Handlers Are Ready for Duty


The Tropical Storm expected to hit the Gulf Coast later today has been building tremendous strength and has escalated to a hurricane warning for millions of people along a 367 mile stretch of coast along the Gulf of Mexico. Named Harvey, the storm is expected to affect Texas and Louisiana most, and to be the strongest storm in their region since 2005.

That year was a devastating hurricane season for the southeast and 27 SDF teams responded to 4 major hurricanes between August and October 2005. Tuesday, August 29th is in fact the 12 year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans.

As of right now, 10 SDF Search Teams from Texas Task Force 2 (TX-TF2), Nebraska Task Force 1 (NE-TF1), Utah Task Force 1 (UT-TF1) and California Task Force 5 (CA-TF5) have been activated along with their teammates and have either already arrived and are awaiting assignments or are en route to San Antonio right now, which will be their initial base of operations. From there, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will wait to assess the damage Hurricane Harvey causes to the region and where it is determined the Task Forces can be of the most use to citizens affected by the severe weather.

The following SDF-trained* Canine Disaster Search Teams are responding:

California Task Force 5 (Orange County)

  • Davis Doty & Jester
  • Doug Van Iwaarden & Sadie

Nebraska Task Force 1 (Lincoln)

  • Steve MacDonald & Lilly
  • Andrew Pitcher & Chief
  • Damon Wirth & George

Texas task Force 2 (Dallas)

  • Keri Grant & Tucker
  • Robert Grant & Rocky
  • Patti Krafft & Billy
  • Andi Sutcliffe & Skye

Utah Task Force 1 (Salt Lake City)

  • Roxanne Bauman & Cole

Additional U.S. Task Forces are standing by to assist should they be needed. Once Harvey makes landfall we will know more about where exactly they are deploying from the base of operations in San Antonio but the focus now is on preparing for the mission.

Thank you for all of your support to ensure that when disaster strikes, Search Teams are there to help those most in need. We hope you take pride in the fact that you are a part of the important mission these Task Forces have ahead of them!

Get the PDF version of SDF's Hurricane Harvey Deployment Report here!

Get the PDF version of the Deployment Roster of the 15 SDF-trained Search Teams here!

*Please note: Additional Search Dog teams are deployed but SDF is not permitted to share their rosters without explicit permission from those Task Forces. We wish all members of the FEMA and State Task Forces deployed the best of luck - stay safe out there!