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An FEMA Canine Interview – And Why That Job Isn’t So Easy

by Celeste Noelle

As written by Jessica Stapf of FEMA:

What was the toughest job interview you ever had? A grueling Q&A session with a panel of people in intimidating suits? Or maybe it involved a test or a simulation? No matter what your toughest job interview experience, I bet you’ll be impressed by the gauntlet of tests to become a certified FEMA canine search and rescue team.

There’s a reason why the dogs and trainers that are part of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces as Canine Search Specialists are so good at what they do. The standards we have for these teams of searchers are incredibly high, considering the gravity of situations that they often find themselves in.

In order to be able to respond to these highly stressful events, the dog and handler teams are certified every two years through a rigorous exam that consists of five elements.

This certification is the only time the equation one + two + three + four = five. Here’s what I mean: The first four elements add up to, or culminate in, the fifth and final element. Each of the five elements focuses on a set of the skills that all of the Canine Search Specialists must master. Ultimately, teams of handlers and dogs must work together to accomplish the same goal: successfully completing a search.

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