Dedicated to finding lost and missing persons using specially trained search dogs in partnership with local emergency agencies


Emergency Call Out Information

for Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies


SCSARDA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
We do not charge anything for our services.


Please consider making a donation to help support our search and rescue missions


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Joining the SCSARDA Team

SCSARDA members are highly trained volunteers who are committed to serving the community. Our members come from a variety of background but we all share a love of dogs and a passion for helping others.

Becoming a certified Search and Rescue volunteer requires a commitment of both time and resources. It can take six months to a year to acquire the necessary training and skills to be operational on a search and even longer to become a K9 handler. Members are expected to pay for their own training, personal equipment, and dog expenses. As of June 2017, SCSARDA does have some openings for prospective dog handlers. Please Read all the linked information before inquiring via email.

SCSARDA is always looking for auxiliary members who are interested in providing ground support or assistance at K9 command.


If you are interested in joining SCSARDA, please follow these links to learn more about our team:


Membership Levels
Search Dog Selection & Training
Application Process


Membership Classification Levels

SCSARDA has two levels of volunteer membership:

Auxiliary Members assist with community and PR events, and, with sufficient training, they may assist with K9 base camp operations or other supportive roles during search call-outs as designated by SCSARDA's K9 Command.

Operational Members obtain specialized training in order to meet the requirements of one of the following roles during a search call-out:

Field Operational/Ground Support- capable of assisting the dog/handler team in an actual search using proper search techniques for the handling of clues, Incident Command Systems, map and compass, and proper radio use;

K9/Handler Team- capable of conducting a search
with a trained K9 using proper search techniques for the handling of clues, Incident Command Systems, map and compass, and proper radio use;

Base Camp Personnel- capable of assisting search teams from the command center with the use of maps and computerized mapping software, Incident Command Systems, proper radio use and documentation.


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All SCSARDA members must be at least 18 years old, pass an FBI criminal background check (or provide other valid documentation with nationwide fingerprint background check), and meet minimum training and attendance standards. 

Auxiliary Members

Must be at least 18 years old

Must submit an application to SCSARDA and complete an FBI criminal background check.

Must attend a minimum of one team training per quarter

Operational Members

Must be at least 18 years old

Must submit an application to SCSARDA and complete an FBI criminal background check.

Must have taken National Incident Management System Courses 100, 200, 700, 800 and 809 online

Must be certified in First Aid and CPR

Must attend a minimum of 50% of team trainings and 50% of team events

Must pay annual dues, which cover our liability insurance.

All Operational Members must meet SCSARDA's minimum training and certification requirements before they can be deployed on a search.

Click here for a list of additional information and requirements for prospective members.

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SCSARDA training is on-going and physically demanding, done under a variety of environmental conditions. Most training is done in the Upstate of South Carolina. SCSARDA meets 4 to 5 times per month, which includes some nights and weekends.

All active members must maintain minimum levels of medical training in CPR and first aid.  Members also obtain training in wilderness survival, land navigation (map, compass, and GPS), radio operations, search strategy, man-tracking and use of the Incident Command System (ICS).  Operational members must achieve a minimum of SAR Tech III training, or its equivalent. Most of our current members have additional specialized training in areas such as rope rescue, confined space rescue, wide area search, advanced search and rescue and multiple other certifications. All dog handlers must also achieve certification with their dog that meets or exceeds SCSARDA standards

Team members are encouraged to join NASAR, the National Association for Search and Rescue, and to attend seminars outside of our organization to get a more balanced view of SAR dog training nationwide.

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Dog Selection and Training

SCSARDA gets many requests to help people train their dog.  However, all of our dog training time is devoted to the dogs and K9 handlers on the team.

Potential K9 handlers should keep in mind: The dog most suitable for SAR may or may not be your current pet. SAR dogs are typically highly driven working dogs with a great deal of energy and can be hard to live with.

Once you have submitted an application for membership, SCSARDA will evaluate your pet dog's potential to be a SAR K9.  Although we will make every effort to work with you and your current dog, if the dog is found not to be suitable, the expectation is that you would either join the team as a ground support member or acquire a more suitable dog for this purpose. 

If you think your dog might be a good candidate for search and rescue, you may want to go to the training section of and look at the screening test used by FEMA. It is similar to what SCSARDA uses. 

Ultimately, finding the right dog for search and rescue is not so hard; finding the right people is much harder.

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Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, and we welcome applications from all those who are interested. Screening of potential members is a competitive process. Any prior search experience or training will better your chances of becoming a part of the SCSARDA team.

In order to begin the application process, we strongly suggest that you first take the NIMS 100, 200, 700, and 800 courses online before contacting SCSARDA. These free online courses will give you some insight into what is involved in search and rescue.

Listed below are some of the training we are looking for in an applicant. It is not necessary to obtain all this training before applying, but these are things which will be required along the way to becoming an operational member.

1) Make sure you can pass an FBI criminal background check. That process takes about 2 months and will be required before you can attend training.

2) Take the free online training NIMS courses 100, 200, 700, 800, and 809 through FEMA and keep the certificates.

3) Take the NASAR FUNSAR Class or equivalent (We require members take a class which has at least a weekend camping trip and mock search; passing the SAR III test is required, but not a substitute. If you are interested in SAR, this is the best way to find out what is involved)

4) Take the NASAR SAR Tech III and prepare to take (or take) the SAR II examination.

5) Obtain basic first aid and CPR training

6) Become proficient with map, compass, and GPS.


If you are still interested in joining our team after reviewing all the information on this page, please contact SCSARDA to discuss your interest and we will invite you to attend a training.

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SCSARDA searches exclusively for missing persons.
We do not search for missing pets.