Rescue dogs - organised across Germany

The Bundesverband Rettungshunde e.V. (German Search and Rescue Dog Association) has made it its mission since 1976 to combine the strengths and power of regional squadrons under an umbrella organisation. Its goal is to develop and apply common and binding training and application directives and this, as it were, for dogs, dog handlers, volunteers and team leaders. That is to say, for everyone involved in the mission.

Search and Rescue dog teams aren’t built themselves. Dog handlers must be instructed by the trainer in order to be able to train their dog themselves in a way that achieves their objectives and is success-orientated. For this purpose, extremely competently staffed seminars and workshops are conducted, which set uniform standards under constant consideration of current knowledge of the training of dogs and humans and which sustainably transfer these standards into the squadrons.

Regardless of location or area of operation, whether along the North Sea coast, in the low mountains, or in the foothills of the Alps, all BRH teams follow the same directives developed by the Association in cooperation with the squadrons, according to which missions are carried out.

Before a rescue dog team is in any way ready for action, a series of tests must be carried out. In order to retain readiness for action, at least one additional test must be carried out per year. The creation, development and regular modernisation of examination regulations, according to which teams’ performance is checked nationwide in the individual divisions of area search, debris search and mantrailing, is also an important part of the Association's work.

Last but not least, the Association ensures that the high quality of the training and application of its teams is made known to the requesting agencies and authorities. In some German states - if provided for in state law - BRH teams are therefore included in the emergency services.

An additional major task of the Association was to form a strong team for operations abroad. From the experience collected as part of various missions after earthquakes in Turkey, Taiwan and Iran, the A-squad concept has been continuously developed and optimised.