The Call Out and Response
For Emergencies Call 911
(304) 552-3965 or
West Virginia K-9 Search and Rescue does not self-deploy.
What does this mean? This means that if we are aware of a search that may require our services, we will not show up on-site, unannounced, uninvited. We will not call the IC or OEM while they are conducting a search to offer our services. By doing so, we would interfere with the investigation or the search operation itself, put ourselves or someone else in harm’s way, or in rare cases, risk testimony and evidence for a criminal case thrown out of court.
When WVK9SAR is called out by an Incident Commander (usually the law enforcement agency) we will normally dispatch two or more canine/handler teams to a search site (depending upon the request), as well as whatever planning, operations and support staff fit the situation. In large-scale searches, or in those situations where we cannot field enough teams for a given search request, we can bring many more K9 and ground search teams into a search response by using our mutual aid affiliations. (Tyler County Search and Rescue) and state and multistate networking agencies.
Who may call WVK9SAR to a Missing Person Incident?
WVK9SAR adheres to the standard Incident Control System and will respond only to a request from an authorized representative of one of the entities listed here:
If you have the authority as described to call us out, call or text us at the Emergency Number
listed in the banner above as soon as possible.
Our K9s are trained to be scent specific and will ignore all but the target scent they are seeking,
so, it is not necessary to pull volunteers out of the area
If you do not have authority over the search, such as a family member or friend of a missing person, contact the detective or agency in charge of finding the person. If they are receptive to using our services, feel free to give them our name and number as an available resource. We already have relationships with a large number of emergency services agencies in the state and surrounding regions.
When WVK9SAR receives a request for our services, we will collect as much information about the search as possible. Based on the Lost Person Questionnaire, weather and search conditions, the SAR Techs and staff available to us at that time, and any other important details, we will determine whether our team can reasonably help the search effort:
If we are available, WVK9SAR and the caller will coordinate a time and location for us to meet.
We will then dispatch the applicable and available team(s) to meet at the designated location and time.
If, WVK9SAR determines that our services are not applicable to the incident, or we do not have the right team(s) available,
we will refer the caller to contact our mutual aid affiliations.
Arriving On The Scene
When the first WVK9SAR member(s) arrives on scene, our team member will report directly to the Incident Command Officer.
That WVK9SAR member will act as the liaison between our staff and the designated member of the Incident Command staff. They will attempt to gather as much information as possible.
The information gathered will be passed on to other team members as they arrive. The teams will get themselves ready and go into staging status.
WVK9SAR will work with the IC Planning Officer to determine the best plan of operation with the objective to raise the Probability of Success to as high a level as possible. Once the initial plan has been approved the teams are ready to move into the search site on the ICS supervisor’s command.
Safety and Operational Security
WVK9SAR will follow the safety plan to the best of their ability.
Should a WVK9SAR team member locate the missing person, or discovers a clue, our members will follow crime scene preservation protocols to the best of their ability and will communicate the location as confidentially as possible.
Our team members have taken radio etiquette.
WVK9SAR members will not communicate any privileged search information to bystanders, friends or family of the missing person(s), or the media. All requests for information will be forwarded to the ICS Information Officer.
Demobilization and Follow Up
Upon completion of WVK9SAR's assignment of the search effort, a final verbal report will be issued to the IC. We will pick up after ourselves, collect our gear, and depart the search area.
As soon as it can be collated, we will provide a formal written search report to the designated recipient identified by the Incident Commander, typically via email.
This search report will remain private and unavailable to family members, friends or media unless ordered by the courts.
Our team will gather later to review our after action report and continue to improve our search trainings and responses.