Handlers’ Grant for Non-SDF Trained Teams
Frequently Asked Questions

To apply for the Handlers’ Grant, contact SDF at program@searchdogfoundation.org

1. What is the SDF Handlers’ Grant program?
The Handlers’ Grant is designed to help give US&R canine handlers operating in the FEMA & SUSAR systems the skills they need to be a better Canine Search Specialist upon deployment. The program was originally supported by a grant from the Bechtel Foundation in 2008 and only available to SDF-trained teams. SDF now maintains an annual budget of $50,000 to serve this intended purpose and the SDF Handlers’ Grant may be used by non-SDF trained US&R Handlers to fund very specific deployment-readiness requests (see #10 on opposite page).

2. Are there any requirements to meet?
Yes. All applicants must be in good standing with their Task Force, which your Canine Coordinator will be required to communicate to SDF. If a handler does not meet this requirement, his/her application will be denied by the Handlers’ Grant Committee.

3. Are there deadlines?
Grant applications must be received 2 weeks prior to the training event you wish to attend. Each application is reviewed individually by the Handlers’ Grant Committee on a first-come, first-serve basis until the budget limit of $50,000 has been reached.

4. How does the award process work?
Once the Handlers’ Grant Committee has discussed the application and made a decision, an SDF staff member will notify the applicant via email as to the outcome of their application. For those approved grants, a written notification and payment within two weeks of the committee’s decision will be made, where applicable.

5. How much can I be awarded?
Individuals can be awarded up to $1,000 per SDF fiscal year, which runs October 1st through September 30th.

6. How do I apply?
Contact SDF via email for an application. Please send your completed application and a web link and/or any information about the specific training event you want to attend for the Committee to review to program@searchdogfoundation.org.

7. What is required after a grant has been funded?
Receipts are required within 30 days of the training event for reimbursement unless otherwise specified. Additionally, we require a written description of how the funds were used and pictures that SDF has permission to use to show our supporters how donor dollars were spent.

8. Who are the Handlers’ Grant Committee Members?
Tracy Darling (SDF), Kate Horwick (SDF), Teresa MacPherson (VA-TF1), Rhett Mauck (SDF), Andrew Pitcher (NE-TF1) and Cynthia Sato (CA-TF1).

9. What deployment-readiness training expenses can the Handlers’ Grant be used for?
• Registration Fees
• Airfare
• Rental car/fuel
• Hotel
• Per diem reimbursement

10. What are qualified US&R training sites, events & groups?
• SDF’s National Training Center – Santa Paula, CA
• USAR Foundation – Memphis, TN (TN-TF1)
• TEEX – College Station, TX (TX-TF1)
• Crisis City Regional Training Center – Salina, KS – (Kansas Task Force K9)
• Muscatatuck Urban Training Center – Butlerville, IN (IN-TF1)
• West Metro Fire Rescue Training & Event Center – Lakewood, CO (CO-TF1)
• West Chicago FPD Regional Firefighter Academy – West Chicago, IL (IL-TF1)
• IronDog competitions
• Superfit Canine workshops

11. Are any other sites allowed?
Additional sites will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If handler would like to visit a site not on this list, check that it meets the criteria below and submit request to program@searchdogfoundation.org for review by SDF’s Handlers’ Grant Committee.

12. What is the training site criteria to be considered?
• Site must meet minimum CE site requirements as set forth in the FEMA Handbook.
• Site must be associated with a qualified US&R group or agency.
• Preferred: Additional realistic training areas like buildings, collapse sites, vehicles, trains, planes, wide areas, etc.

13. The following are not considered training events and are not eligible for this grant:
• FEMA Certification Evaluation/ SUSAR Type I
• FEMA Foundation Skills Assessment/SUSAR Type II
• Standard training that your Task Force should budget for in their fiscal year.

To apply for the Handlers’ Grant, contact SDF at program@searchdogfoundation.org

 

Melissa Morgan Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky.  At the University, she is the Director of the Food Systems Innovation Center (FSIC) and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Food Science. Melissa’s research interests include pre- and post-harvest food safety and quality control. In recent years this worked has evolved to included activities to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from non-routine emergencies resulting from intentional and non-intentional contamination affecting food products. Melissa’s teaching program includes traditional classes in Food Microbiology, Food Sanitation, Foodborne Pathogens, and Veterinary Medical Terminology (online), in addition to a robust program in undergraduate student research and internships.

Melissa has been involved in working and training scent detecting dogs for over 20 years. She is a K9 Deputy with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department,  Chief of the Kentucky Search Dog Association, and K9 manager for Ohio Task Force 1 a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team.  Melissa has been involved with over 375 incidents as either a dog handler, team leader or operations officer, her K9s are certified through FEMA, North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA), American Police Canine Association (APCA) and Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) in disaster, air-scent, trailing, and cadaver. In addition, Melissa is an evaluator for KYEM, FEMA Disaster – HRD and a Master Trainer for APCA.