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FEMA Search Canine Evaluation
updated: Feb 27, 2013, 4:07 PM

Source: Santa Barbara County Fire Department

On the morning of February 23rd, in less than optimal conditions, Riley and Santa Barbara County Firefighter Eric Grey were successful in passing the FEMA Search Canine Evaluation. This is a mandatory test, taken every three years, that enables Riley and Firefighter Grey to deploy anywhere in the United States and abroad in the event of a disaster.

Riley, a yellow lab, was bounced around in his early years because he was so rambunctious and proved to be too much for a couple families to handle. But then he found the perfect fit: the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) training. SDF trainers said Riley's exuberance and constant desire to be doing something helped him sail through his training.

"Riley did such an incredible job, said Firefighter Grey. I could not be more proud!" Leading up to the evaluation, Riley and Eric trained more than normal in order to give Riley as many scenarios as possible to work through. This required large amounts of travel in and around the Southern California.

The Santa Barbara Fire Fighters Alliance continues to provide incredible support for Riley and Eric's training and equipment-at no cost to the fire department. Riley is a live scent disaster search canine whose job it is to assist Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) personnel in determining the presence of live people trapped in rubble following a manmade or natural disaster.

Eric and Riley are assigned to the Regional USAR Team RTF-7 and the State Team CATF-2. Both teams utilize Eric and Riley in the same manner. State Team CATF-2 (Los Angeles County Fire Department), is one of the two internationally deployable teams decreed by the U.S. State Department.

In 2011, Eric and Riley were deployed to Tohoku Japan as part of CATF-2 for nine days following the catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami to search for survivors.

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