Urban Search and Rescue


Southern Cross Search Dogs (SCSD) is a volunteer not-for-profit organisation to service the needs of the Australian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces by providing canine USAR capabilities to find survivors in the event of building collapse.

What is Urban Search and Rescue?

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is an emergency response from multiple agencies respond to major incidents involving structural collapse, such as following an earthquake or cyclone.
The Role of the USAR Dog Team

A USAR dog team consists of a dog and handler who form a close working relationship. Handlers and dogs cannot simply be substituted when one or the other is unavailable.

USAR Canine Search Specialists train and maintain his/her dog to nationally recognised standards of performance, and ensures an operational canine capability that is readily available to Australian USAR Task Forces at all times.

The USAR dog teams have the primary function of locating living persons missing under structural collapse. The dog searches for human scent emanating from within the collapsed structure. In being deployed with a USAR task force, the USAR Canine Search Specialist or dog handler is responsible for managing their dog and the search, ensuring their designated search area has been fully covered.



What is a canine USAR team?

It is a dog and handler trained to an accepted standard to search for persons buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings due to earthquakes, explosions and the like – Urban Search & Rescue or USAR.
The most recent such disasters were the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan last year. Qualified canine USAR teams can also be deployed after cyclones – Cyclone Yasi, and landslides such as