About NSDA


Welcome to NSDA

About National Search Dog Alliance

National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA) is a Search and Rescue Dog group formed in March 2007. The Alliance's aim was and is to become an exemplary group representing the interests of search and rescue dog handlers.

"There is a vast community of dog handlers who want an organization which is solely dedicated to issues facing dog handlers."

Canine handlers had needs that were not being met by other organizations. NSDA wanted to provide programs designed and developed by the dog handler, for the dog handler. Thus the Alliance reached out to handlers to obtain their feedback on issues because this organization was developed with them in mind. NSDA believed that, only through communication, can programs be designed that meet the needs of the members. Communication allows for quick feedback and the ability to take needed actions.

From the start, the Alliance has been committed to working with the premier canine handlers in the country to draw from their extensive experience. As Policy and Procedures, Standards and Programs were developed, insight and input was gotten from these handlers in an effort to provide the best canine product for NSDA members and the canine community as a whole. NSDA continues to believe that quality standards reflect well on an organization as well as those who are certified by them.

The National Search Dog Alliance has confidence that it provides quality education, pre-eminent certifications and an effective voice in the future of search and rescue canines.

Founding Members

K-9 Thor, Eileen M. Nobles, Susan Bulanda, K-9 Roo, K-9 River, K-9 Cali, Brian R. Hendrickson, Leslie Godchaux, K-9 Persha, Jan Thompson, Peggy Ann Buchman, K-9 Geist, Continental Kennel Club, Inc.

NSDA Mission Statement

The mission of the National Search Dog Alliance, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), is to serve communities through the certification and education of search and rescue and law enforcement canine teams and their support personnel.

  • Serve communities: Our certified canine teams respond to local and national emergencies and provide awareness programs on proactive safety education.
  • Certification: We provide nationally recognized standards to ensure the highest quality resources to advance public safety.
  • Sponsoring Education: At the local, regional and national level to provide professional continuous learning opportunities.

NSDA currently offers the following canine team certifications to the SAR Community:

  • Area Search
  • Area Search with Live Subject and Cadaver
  • Wilderness Cadaver
  • Wilderness Trailing
  • Urban Trailing
  • Land Human Remains Detection
  • Water Human Remains Detection
  • Avalanche First Responder and Ski Patrol
  • Disaster First Responder Type III Live Find
  • Disaster First Responder Type III Human Remains Detection
  • Gun Source Residue
  • Backtracking

All testing is done by nationally certified Principle Evaluators trained to the highest standards in the field.

Policy on Charging for Search and Rescue Operations

National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA) is comprised of non-paid professional canine teams who donate their services to locate the missing and endangered. NSDA does not support non-paid professional K-9 teams charging a fee to the families for a rescue or a recovery. Our mission is to help bring each incident to closure as soon as possible.

Agency Expectations

What law enforcement, and other Agencies Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), expect from canine SAR Responders:

  1. Responders must arrive fully equipped: mentally, physically and with the proper equipment for the mission and environment.
  2. Responders must be able to complete their assigned missions or be able to make every reasonable effort to do so.
  3. Responders must be willing and able to work under the direction of the representatives from the Agency Having Jurisdiction.
  4. Responders must be free of convictions for felonies, crimes involving moral turpitude and perjury.
  5. Responders must truthfully represent their capabilities and those of their canine.

Code of Ethics

Paid and non-paid professionals have the right to expect specific behavior from each other. With this in mind, members of the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA) shall adhere to the following code of ethics at all times.

Section I. Law Enforcement, Emergency Management and other Agencies Having Jurisdiction have high expectations and requirements of those with whom they work. This includes the members of the NSDA and all other SAR Responders.

Section II. As SAR Responders, we must conduct ourselves in a professional manner at all times. We will only respond to an incident when authorized or requested by competent authority. When responding, we are there to assist the agency that is in charge and are there for the victim, not ourselves, our team or our agency and will conduct ourselves as such. We are bound to follow the directions of the representatives from the agency that is in charge.

Section III. It is imperative that we train to a high level of competence and always accurately represent our capabilities as well as those of our canine. We will keep ourselves physically fit so that we can safely and effectively complete assigned tasks.

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