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Common Questions

You Ask. We Answer.

Looking for more information about the work that we do? This is a collection of all the questions we are asked most often, listed here for your convenience. If there is anything we didn’t cover, please let us know.

Q: What do you search for?
A: Missing people.


Q: Where does your Team search?
A: We will search anywhere we are needed and it is practical to go. We have worked searches from East Texas to Corpus Christi, from the Austin area to the Bollivar Peninsula. We are available to search anywhere we can reasonably go.


Q: How does SARQuest get involved in searches?
A: We are requested by the agency who has jurisdiction on the search. This is usually a law enforcement agency but can be a fire department, emergency management agency, or whoever is responsible for the search. We do NOT self-deploy or deploy at the direct request of the family.


Q: How do you search for missing people?
A: We have several different tools for locating missing people. Our best tool are our Dog Teams. The dogs are much better sensors than people. They can detect people that we cannot see, hear, or smell. We also have Certified Man Trackers who use sign left behind by the person to track the missing person. All of our Team Members are trained to perform ground searches using effective techniques, with and without dogs.


Q: Do I have to have a dog to be on your Team?
A: No. In fact, we need more people without dogs than people with dogs. It takes at least 3 people to work one dog. We will teach you all of the skills necessary to be a qualified member of our Team.


Q: How do I get trained to be on your Team?
A: We provide all of the training you will need to become a Member of our Team. It generally takes about 6-12 months to complete the basic training.


Q: What breeds of dogs can do SAR work?
A: It's really not about breed, but about temperament and drive. We have many different breeds, and several mixed breeds, in our training program. If the dog wants to do this work, is reasonably physically fit, and has some type of drive we can use to train them, they can probably do SAR work.


Q: How long does it take to train a SAR Dog?
A: It really depends on the dog and the trainer. Generally, it takes at least 2 years to get certified, but it truly depends on how much effort you put into training.


Q: Who do the dogs belong to?
A: The dogs belong to the handlers. They are members of our Team Member's families.


Q: Who trains the dogs?
A: We train you to train your dog.


Q: I have a dog I want to donate to your Team. How can I do that?
A: Generally we do not accept donations of dogs for the Team. The dogs belong to their handlers.

Q: How often does SARQuest train?
A: We usually train about 4 hours each week as a Team. Most often we train on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Please check our calendar for all of our scheduled training opportunities.

Q: Do I have to come to every training session?
A: You do not need to attend every training session, but it is recommended that you come to as many as you can.  The more you train, the better you get.

Q: What kind of equipment do I need?
A: Team members need to wear adequate clothing (may encounter thick brush, heat, cold, and bugs) and carry a pack containing water, first aid, and navigation equipment.

Q: Does SARQuest provide this equipment for me?
A:The searcher’s personal equipment is an individual preference and is the responsibility of the individual.  SARQuest will provide team uniforms for team members once they have completed initial training and been voted onto the Team. However, having the equipment is not an up-front requirement to attend training.

Q: How do I join your Team?
A: First, think about how much time you have to dedicate to this program. It takes time and effort to get qualified and stay mission-ready. Next, come to any of our public Team training events and observe what we do. If you are interested in joining the Team, pay a $20 application fee and we'll give you an application.

When you return the application, we'll do a background check and provide you with a Task Book that describes all of the skills you need to get qualified a a Search Technician.

Once you complete the Task Book, the Board of Directors will confer with the Team and vote on your application. If you are approved, you will pay an additional $20, the remainder of the annual dues, and be issued Team uniform items and be welcomed into the SARQuest family.

Q: How much does it cost to be on your Team?
A: Our Team dues are $40 per year. The cost of your equipment, travel, and other expenses are your responsibility.

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