Search and Rescue Certification
Search and Rescue Certification

These standards and testing procedures have been created and authorized by the Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association with the purpose of providing independent performance evaluations to the civilian search and rescue community. The adoption of these standards and testing procedures will provide an opportunity for the search and rescue professional to gain evaluation of their canine’s ability and proficiency in the discipline tested by a reputable law enforcement association. Civilians must valid membership with a search and rescue organization or a letter showing affiliation with a law enforcement agency.


This test is designed to test the K-9 team’s ability and proficiency in searching designated areas to locate a lost or missing person. It is required that the canine team passes the FLECA Obedience Phase for search and rescue prior to testing for this Search and Rescue Area Search Test certification. It is required that this canine team demonstrates sociability with the Certifying Official conducting this Search and Rescue Area Search Test prior to this certification. Any display of aggression by the K9 during any part of this test will constitute a failure.

All handlers who wish to test must have a current certificate from the American Red Cross in Basic First Aid and CPR.

It is the responsibility of the handler to ensure the Certifying Official has access to topographical maps of the area to be tested in. If the Certifying Official does not have maps of the area to be tested in, it will be the responsibility of the handler to supply them. If problems arise with the availability of topographical maps of the test area, the Certifying Official may select an alternative type of map for this test.

The handler must tell the Certifying Official what the K9 alert will be prior to entering the search area, and the “victims” will be unknown to the K9 team. The use of GPS devices is allowed during this portion of the test.

Test Areas:

The team shall be given grid coordinates on a map and must clear the assigned areas. There will be two (2) test areas; the combined area will be a minimum of 40 acres and a maximum of 160 acres. The terrain shall be light to medium and the area will be shortened if the terrain becomes denser. There will be anywhere from zero (0) to two (2) “victims” in each search area. Upon locating a “victim”, it will be up to the handler if they want the subject to stay with them or leave the search area. The “victims” shall lie still and not stimulate or make any noises or movements to get the K9’s attention. The alert must be obvious to the Certifying Official. The maximum time for both areas to be cleared will be two (2) hours.

There will be a break between search areas, and the K9 team may stop inside the areas to rest, which will not count towards the two (2) hour time limit. The length of the rest periods will be at the discretion of the Certifying Official. The team may not miss any victims in the time permitted, as this will constitute a failure. A team miss is any incorrect response by the K9 team. All tests given will be on a team pass/fail basis. The Certifying Official will determine if the team will be certified upon the completion of the test. The handler and dog will be considered as a team and it is the team that will be certified. If the dog changes handlers, a new team exists and the team will need to be certified. Reviewed

This certification will be valid for one (1) year from the date of issue as defined in the Certification Validity paragraph. There will be no fee charged for FLECA certification testing. A fee may be imposed to cover expenses of travel, lodging and meals only, if necessary.

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