Rescue Dogs Taken-In, Then Trained to Rescue Others
Balfour Beatty is proud to have overseen construction of The Search Dog Foundation’s (SDF) National Training Center located in Santa Paula, California—90 minutes north of Los Angeles. The state-of-the-art facility occupies 125 acres and incorporates specially designed kennels, beginning and advanced training areas, handlers’ accommodations, classrooms and staff offices. The facility makes it possible for all SDF’s staff and canine candidates to train in the same place for the first time since the organization’s founding in 1996. Balfour Beatty’s scope of work included managing the master planning, various agency approvals and construction of the full training campus and key operational buildings.
This venue is the first of its kind in the nation and is dedicated solely to training Canine Disaster Search Teams. The Center is a prime destination for first responders from around the world seeking advanced training in realistic disaster simulation scenarios. Located throughout the grounds, lay Disaster Training Zones complete with simulated airplane crash sites, bus wrecks and homes with typical debris and obstacles found after earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes. All Disaster Zones were constructed to simulate real-life scenarios that can assist first responders and their canine partners learning how to find people buried alive.
The training conducted at this facility has already provided life-saving gifts to people impacted by several back-to-back disasters occurring in 2017. An impressive total of 26 SDF-trained Search Teams responded to Hurricanes Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida and Maria in Puerto Rico. Two additional teams responded to the deadly 7.2 magnitude earthquake near Mexico City that devastated the region.
“Being involved in this project is near and dear to my heart,” expressed Dennis Kuykendall, project executive out of Balfour Beatty’s Ventura’s office. “The dogs and first responders are not only dedicated to jumping into action when a natural disaster strikes, the canine/responder teams are spending months prepping for these real-life disaster scenarios. They are getting ready to risk their own lives to save others. I’m proud to have been a small part of their journey.”