Multiple New York Agencies Team Up for Disaster Preparedness

The East Coast’s newest SDF teams – Brian Girard & Keila and Chris Johnson & Charlie – aced a mock Certification Evaluation (CE) on Friday, March 24th, thanks to the combined efforts of the New York Police Department, New York Task Force 1 (based in NYC) and their own training group, New York Task Force 2 (based in Albany). SDF Head Trainer Sonja Heritage flew in to help evaluate the team’s skills on and off the rubble, unbeknownst to the teams testing prior.

Brian & Keila and Chris & Charlie achieved basic State Urban Search & Rescue Alliance (SUSAR) Type II Certification at the end of 2016 and they are now gearing up for their advanced SUSAR Type I evaluation. Based on the results of this test run – they are ready! Their success at the upcoming SUSAR Type I Certification will mean that the State of New York and Department of Homeland Security will have more boots and paws on the ground when needed.

“It’s really great to be able to show up at the New York Task Force 1 canine training site as a surprise evaluator for this Mock CE and see the Handlers unfazed by our presence. They were entirely focused on the search and nothing distracted them from the task at hand. I’m extremely pleased by how well Charlie and Keila did in locating all of the victims buried in the rubble, as well as how well their Handlers have learned to read and manage their canine partners. I truly feel that they are now ready for their real CE! We couldn’t have conducted this important training opportunity without the support of the New York Task Force 1 canine team. Thank you!”

– Sonja Heritage, SDF Lead Trainer

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