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What we do


Who we are


Interesting insights


NROs in the spotlight


Review 2019


Insights into training


Mission-ready at all times


SAR dogs – a lifesaving resource



IRO International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation

T.: +43 662 82 65 26 10 F.: +43 662 82 65 26 20

MoosstraĂ&#x;e 32 5020 Salzburg, AUSTRIA


Dear friends and supporters,

The International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO), together with its member organisations and dog handlers, can look back on an exciting, busy and successful year. What has the IRO achieved in 2019? Where have we improved, what has been accomplished or further developed? All of this and much more can be found on the following pages. Search and rescue dogs trained by IRO organisations or which have received further training by the IRO were deployed regularly in 2019. A fact that encourages us in our commitment “Set standards. Save lives.� In 2019, the IRO again took numerous small and larger steps to implement this guiding principle, to support dog handlers and member organisations in the best possible way, and at the same time to raise awareness of the IRO worldwide. As of 1 January 2019, for example, new international trial rules came into force which now also set standards in the Mantrailing section. There is a strong interest in this discipline and many IRO member organisations have already started to practice Mantrailing. At the World Championship 2019 in Villejust, France, which was perfectly organised by the national search and rescue dog organisation CSP France, it was possible for the first time for visitors to witness the Area search live. This new opportunity was very well received and aims to make the great achievements of search and rescue dog teams more tangible. In May 2019, the first Deputy for the Americas was appointed with the involvement of the resident national search and rescue dog organisations (NROs): Julio Velazquez (PMPBR-UNAM) has since then been active as a link between NROs in North and South America. And in November an important step was taken with the 3rd Mission Readiness Test Rubble in Asia, which seven teams passed. Several activities enhanced the awareness of the IRO also in 2019. Important milestones were the launch of the IRO online shop, which went online in June, and the revision of the IRO logo at the beginning of the year. All NROs and dog handlers were involved in the design and selection process, so that finally a new, contemporary logo was created. In spring, the first Open House was held at the Salzburg office, offering the opportunity to experience search and rescue dogs up close. It was a great success, which was very well received by visitors and the media alike. We are happy about the big and small achievements of our members and dog handlers, which have made 2019 a significant and beautiful year for the IRO. I would like to thank all dog handlers and supporters of the IRO for their tireless efforts in 2019. I thank you for your loyalty and hope that you will continue to support the IRO, whether in working with search and rescue dogs or in any other way.

Best regards,

Markus Bock President of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation

IRO Annual Report 2019


What we do

OUR MISSION The International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation is a non-profit organisation ensuring uniform, global quality standards in the training of search and rescue dogs.

2019 in numbers 51

Training and testing events


New mission-certified dogs


IRO Annual Report 2019

Missions worldwide


Who we are

Our Executive Board As a governing body, the IRO Executive Board operates within the framework of the Constitution, the regulations and the resolutions of the Meeting of the Delegates. The President represents the IRO internally and externally and forms the Executive Committee together with both Vice Presidents. The Department Heads are responsible for matters concerning Deployment, Training and Judges, Public Relations and Finance. Selected Deputies complement and support the board members in their work.

1st Vice President

2nd Vice President

Ida Bårris - DK

Dr. vet. med. Vedran Babić - HR

Ida Bårris has a lot of experience in hosting large events and successfully organised the IRO World Championship of Search and Rescue Dogs 2015 in Aalborg (DK). Besides her activity as Vice President, she makes a valuable contribution to the organisation as a certified IRO Trainer.

As a practicing veterinarian, USAR team member, IRO trainer and successful graduate of numerous IRO competitions, Testing Events and Trainings, Vedran Babić may rightfully be called a genuine representative of the IRO standards.

Deputy for Asia Hidehiro Murase – JP Deputy for America Julio Velazquez Rodriguez – MX


Spokesperson for Deployment The Department for Deployment is currently supervised on an interim basis by the 1st Vice President Ida Bårris.

Deputy Spokesperson for Deployment Linda Hornisberger - CH Marcel Versterre - NL

IRO Annual Report 2019

President Markus Bock - AT As Senior Instruction Officer USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) and Commander of the AFDRU (Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit) Markus Bock has repeatedly demonstrated his expertise in numerous missions, e.g. in Turkey, Iran and Sri Lanka. As IRO delegate he closely cooperates with INSARAG and works together with the DACH working group on search and rescue dog planning. With Markus Bock the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation has a proven expert in disaster relief on board.

Spokesperson for Marketing & PR

Spokesperson for Finance

Daniel Sedlák - CZ

Vedran Vukomanović - HR

Charlotte Kranz - AT

The international IRO and FCI judge Daniel Sedlák has been delivering his expertise to the members of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation since 2000. The Spokesperson for Training & Judges is not only brilliant in theory, but he has also completed numerous national and international missions.

Vedran Vukomanović has many years of experience as an active dog handler and has a proven track record in marketing, event management and public relations. The creative mind is distinguished above all by his expertise in new and social media as well as his excellent contacts in the media environment.

The MRT certified IRO Judge and Classifier for AFDRU search and rescue dogs is active in Area search even beyond Austria. As a financial expert, handling numbers is a no-brainer for her. She is responsible for the financial and personnel matters of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation.

Spokesperson for Training & Judges

Deputy Spokesperson for Training & Judges Arnold Landauer - AT Jerneja Ternovec - SI

IRO Annual Report 2019

Deputy Spokesperson for Finance Monja Raich - AT


Secretary General Dr. Andrea Thuma As a graduate in political science and experienced project manager, Andrea Thuma gained extensive experience in the field of training and events as well as in the coordination of teams. Her tasks are the operational and strategic management of the organisation and the office.

Office Management & Member Organisations

Department for Deployment

Department for Training & Judges

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Kathrin Schiestl

Mag. Claudia Kammerer

Verena Herbst

As a true organisational talent, media technician Kathrin Schiestl takes care of the support of member organisations, the administration of donations and also keeps track of finances. Her energetic support can also be counted on at events.

Event and project management as well as fundraising and sponsoring are the core competences of Claudia Kammerer, who studied business administration. She contributes her knowledge to the organisation of large events such as the MRT and ensures the further professionalisation of the deployment department.

The tourism management professional and experienced dog handler Verena Herbst is responsible for the training department at the IRO, supports NROs in organising testing events and courses, and always has an open ear for volunteers, trainers and member organisations.


IRO Annual Report 2019

Our team The IRO Office was established in Salzburg (AT) to support the Executive Board and the Delegates in organisational and operational matters. The team includes experts in economics, politics, media and communication and organises training programs, testing events and certifications. The Office is the contact point for enquiries from donors as well as NROs, handles funding requests and manages donations. As communication headquarters, it represents the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation internally and externally.

Department for Marketing & PR

Donor care

Team Assistance

Daniela Rupp, MA

Mag. Belinda Simon

Luise Badergruber, BA

As a graduate in event and culture management, Daniela Rupp has a wide range of experience in international marketing and strategic project management. She is responsible for all marketing and communication activities and is the contact person for the press.

Archaeologist Belinda Simon takes care of all donor concerns with heart, dedication and a good portion of humour. She is also responsible for travel bookings and expense reports of the extended IRO team when they take part in official events worldwide.

IRO Annual Report 2019

As a student of communication science, Luise Badergruber has a wide range of expertise. The dedicated Upper Austrian is particularly active in both the public relations department and in event organisation.


IRO members worldwide

123 national member organisations from

42 countries

AMERICA Since its foundation, the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation has grown steadily and, with 31 December 2019, counted a total of 123 national search and rescue dog organisations in 42 countries worldwide. The variety of the different organisations ranges from small associations to professional, state-run and integrated specialist organisations.


Argentina Brazil Canada Chile Colombia Mexico USA Venezuela

IRO Annual Report 2019



Austria Belgium Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Hungary Italy Norway Poland Romania Russia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland The Netherlands Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom

China Japan Malaysia Saudi Arabia South Korea Taiwan Thailand United Arab Emirates

AFRICA South Africa

IRO Annual Report 2019



Interesting insights

Journey through time: The history of the IRO Interesting insights from four founding members about the beginnings and milestones of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation. Hard to believe: The IRO was founded 27 years ago by only six organisations from different countries. Meanwhile it has developed into a worldwide organisation with a broad field of activities and more than 120 members as well as a volunteer staff of over 100 trainers, judges and classifiers. We asked four of the longest standing member organisations involved in the foundation of the IRO how they perceive the development of the IRO from its founding days until today, and why young organisations should get involved.

What was the reason for the founding of the IRO? SBK: After the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the idea emerged to unite search and rescue dog organisations worldwide. After a meeting in Berlin in 1991, Sweden got the opportunity to hold the next symposium in Rosenberg in 1993, where the IRO was founded. BRH: For years, some National Search and Rescue Dog Organisations (NROs) thought that it would be useful to expand the national work with search and rescue dogs internationally. In particular, an exchange of information on training work should take place and general testing criteria should be developed. In 1993, six foreign organisations met in Sweden with the aim of establishing an international search and rescue dog organisation. SZBK ČR: Since it was difficult for search and rescue dog organisations to help in international missions, the idea of coordinating the work


was born. As SZBK ČR has already existed since 1990, the motivation to get involved was very high. RHS Isar: In a nutshell: to bring together experience, efficiency of training, and common goals of all search and rescue dog organisations. What was the motivation of your NRO to be involved in the foundation of the IRO? SZBK ČR: To be part of an umbrella organisation that can respond quickly to international requests for help in the event of a disaster, and send dog handlers from different organisations. RHS Isar: Our motivation was to belong to an organisation that is specialised in preparing search and rescue dog teams for disaster relief. SBK: The SBK wanted to be part of an international alliance to improve cooperation in earthquake relief operations and thus save lives.

BRH: At that time the BRH was already active in search and rescue dog work for 20 years. We had contacts with search and rescue dog organisations in Austria and Switzerland. The BRH welcomed the foundation of the IRO to learn about the experiences of other international organisations. What were the focal points in the early years of IRO, on which areas did the joint work concentrate? SBK: One of the first priorities was the basic structure of the organisation. In its first meeting in Boulder, USA, the IRO Executive Board decided that the organisation should be based in Austria. SZBK ČR: A main focus were certainly tests, because at that time there were only a few dog handlers with IRO tested dogs. Therefore, it was necessary to select and train judges who could evaluate these tests. Also the extension of the disciplines from Tracking and Area to

IRO Annual Report 2019

Rubble was an important step. It was also crucial that the IRO generates income on its own and is therefore able to organise major events such as the World Championship or MRT (Mission Readiness Test). BRH: An essential focus was the organisation of an annual search and rescue dog World Championship with the aim of enabling the dog handlers to exchange information and experiences regarding training methods with each other. What was unique in the early years of the IRO, and what progress do you see in the advancement of the IRO over the last 27 years? RHS Isar: The idea of training for disaster response was decisive for the early years. But I also have the feeling that the IRO has developed very well in terms of sports, which is good. SZBK ČR: It is a great honour for our NRO to be part of the IRO as one of its founding organisations. Due to the increase in members, many people all over the world can now join the IRO as a sports and emergency response organisation. BRH: Community, comradeship and mutual assistance. The IRO has developed into a worldwide organisation that provides help and support to NROs. Last but not least, the organisation of search and rescue dog symposia, which convey knowledge and promote a sense of solidarity. SBK: Collaboration and unity, friendships, and valuable achievements. Which aspects of the IRO membership do you especially appreciate as a member organisation from the very beginning? BRH: Getting to know many international colleagues and the exchange of information about different training methods.

IRO Annual Report 2019

SZBK ČR: As an active NRO, we have many dog handlers who have been very successful at World Championships, previously also at MRTs. At the moment we have younger dogs and we hope that we will soon be classified as an operational organisation again, because our dog handlers have also been involved in many international missions. How do you assess the importance of search and rescue dog work in the future and which tasks do you consider particularly important for the further development of the IRO? RHS Isar: The IRO should, wherever possible, be more involved in the standardisation of training and preparation of search and rescue dog teams in all federations. Here in Germany the IRO Testing Standards should be enforced in all search and rescue dog organisations, so that private clubs with years of experience in disaster control can also participate. More often only larger organisations are called to participate in missions. SBK: It will be important to develop techniques and methods both for deployment and sport and to make the IRO more visible outside the rather narrow search and rescue dog scene.

with mantrailers being requested several times a day. The IRO should support national organisations in further training, e.g. by offering training programs at a national level. Is there anything you would like to tell “young“ IRO member organisations, from your experience? BRH: Acknowledge the offers of the IRO and participate in the work of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation. RHS Isar: IRO is a great organisation. It would be our wish to continue to pursue the national and international goal of search and rescue dog work with the IRO standing above all search and rescue dog organisations. SZBK ČR: The two most important aspects for us: To have good dog handlers with well trained dogs. To always be companionable and respectful, to do the work whole-heartedly, no matter whether it’s on the training ground or in a meeting. It is then that the idea of the IRO family can come true: that highly trained dog handlers and dogs can save human lives.

SZBK ČR: Technical resources can never be as good as a search and rescue dog’s nose. And this will always be the case. For the IRO it is important that we can help immediately if necessary. Even in the current difficult situation, funding must be secured. This is a major task. BRH: Serious disasters abroad have been on the decline in recent years. However, there remains a great demand on a national level in the search for persons in distress. In Germany the frequency of local missions has been growing for years,


Bundesverband Rettungshunde e.V. (DE)

RHS Isar

Rettungshundestaffel Isar e.V. (DE)


Svenska Brukshundklubben (SE)


Svaz záchranných brigád kynologů ČR (CZ)


NROs in the spotlight

Heroes in action: Gas explosion Austria, June 2019 – On 26 June 2019, a residential building in Vienna-Wieden partially collapsed due to a gas explosion. Four search and rescue dog teams of the IRO member organisation SKV-KHD were deployed.

THE HEROES OF THE PRESSGASSE This was a headline after the devastating gas explosion in Vienna, Austria, in June 2019. It referred to the many helpers of the disaster relief service who voluntarily expose themselves to great risk after such fatal events. The experienced IRO member organisation Sport- und Kultur-Verein der Berufsfeuerwehr Wien (SKV-KHD) was involved in the operation after the partial collapse of the building. On 26 June 2019 at about 4.30 pm, a residential building in Vienna-Wieden partially collapsed due to a gas explosion. Four search and rescue dog teams from SKV-KHD were deployed to help finding victims under the rubble. The President of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation Markus Bock also contributed to the search work with his dog Egmont. The conditions were difficult: there was a scorching heat and shards of glass and debris were scattered everywhere. The search and rescue teams were on-site all night and the following day to search for victims buried in the tons of rubble. The sad result: several seriously injured and two people killed.


IRO Annual Report 2019

Photos: Peter SchĂźler / SKV-KHD

IRO Annual Report 2019


Heroes in action: Missing person search Finland, June 2019 – A 70-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer‘s was reported missing when he did not return from a trip. After two days of unsuccessful search, search and rescue dog teams of the IRO member organisation FRF K9 were called for help.

When accidents or disasters happen and people are in need, professionally trained search and rescue dog teams are often the last hope for survival. This also became apparent during a mission of the IRO member organisation Finn Rescue K9 Association (FRF K9). In June 2019, a 70-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease had set off on a bicycle tour and did not return home. As there was still no trace of the missing man after two days, FRF K9 search and rescue dog teams were called in to help, including Ritva Holmström with dog Ruu. The search area was divided and two units were formed. The search in Ritva’s assigned area remained unsuccessful. She therefore decided to support the troops in the second search area. Only a short time later the dog found the man’s wallet and a shoe. Thanks to this lead, the police and the search and rescue dog teams were able to find the man in good health. Only three months after the mission Ritva and Ruu proved their skills at the IRO World Championship in Villejust (FR). In the Rubble search ranking the two were among the top 15 and in the team ranking they even won the World Championship title with FRF K9.

Ritva and Ruu during Rubble training

Photo: Ritva Holmström


IRO Annual Report 2019



Review 2019

2019 in 60 seconds January 5 sec

Since 15 January 2019 the new IRO logo is in use worldwide. The IRO logo competition registered 200 entries by 43 designers from all over the world.

February 7 sec

In February a new position in the IRO Office team was filled with Belinda Simon. She is responsible for donor care and provides administrative support for the Departments of Training and Deployment.

March 7 sec

The working groups “NROs“ and “Experts”, composed of NRO members, were established. The aim is to further develop the cooperation between NROs and the standards of our experts.

April 7 sec

To celebrate the “International Search and Rescue Dog Day“, the IRO Office in Salzburg opened its doors for the first time to interested guests. More than 100 visitors were able to experience the four-legged friends up close during training.

May “Ready, steady, MRT!“ was the motto of the 5th IRO Mission Readiness Test in the discipline Area search, which took place 22–27 May 2019 in Wiener Neustadt / Hohe Wand (AT). 14 teams are now entitled to call themselves “IRO mission-ready”.

10 sec

Julio Velazquez (PMPBR-UNAM) was appointed as the first Deputy for the Americas.

June On 17 June 2019 the new IRO Shop was launched. IRO Classifiers, Judges, Trainers and Veterinarians were equipped with the new collection too.

5 sec

September 7 sec

116 starters, 24 nations, 6 days – the IRO World Championship 2019 was an absolute highlight. The member organisation CSP France organised a great championship for starters, fans and visitors. Photo: CSP France

October 5 sec

For the first time the Croatian IRO member organisation CRDA organised a Mission Readiness Test in the discipline Rubble search. 31 teams from 16 national search and rescue dog organisations travelled to Zagreb and proved their skills. 15 teams passed the MRT. Photo: JDarja

November 7 sec

18 participants met in Wiener Neustadt (AT) to complete Module I of the IRO National Trainer Course. The focus was on Rubble search and the learning behaviour of the dog.

New logo: Beginning of a new era The winning logo was chosen from among 200 submissions by 43 designers from all over the world. The International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation is initiating a new era with the new logo. In 2018, the IRO Executive Board decided to completely renew the design of the world‘s largest umbrella organisation for search and rescue dogs and to hold an international logo contest. This allowed all committed members to be involved in this important and creative process. “The decision to not only modify the existing logo, but to completely redesign it, took some courage, however, we are very satisfied with the result and would like to thank all designers for their incredible efforts”, says Vedran Vukomanović, Spokesperson for Public Relations and Marketing. Since 15 January 2019 the winning logo has been in use worldwide. The dynamic IRO lettering with the integrated dog is a symbol for the continuous positive development of the search and rescue dog sector. The globe stands for international networking and exchange between search and rescue dog organisations across the globe.

Top left: IRO business stationery Top right: IRO merchandise line

Bottom: IRO post cards


IRO Annual Report 2019

Successful launch of the online shop After the new IRO logo was presented in early January 2019, the new IRO online shop was launched just a few months later. Since June 2019, high-quality products can be purchased that will make the heart of every dog handler and outdoor enthusiast beat faster. The products range from waterproof, breathable jackets to robust work trousers and comfortable shirts and hoodies. All products show the new IRO logo and were designed according to the colours of the IRO corporate design. For the first time, Classifiers, Judges, Trainers and Vets of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation have been fully equipped with the new collection. And the best part is the WOW factor! Every purchase is a donation to the professional training of our four-legged lifesavers.

Doing good while shopping? You can! Scan the QR code to explore the IRO online shop!

IRO Annual Report 2019


25th IRO WCH for search and rescue dogs Villejust/Paris, France – The IRO World Championship is the highlight of the year for many search and rescue dog teams. It offers the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people from different nations and to test the current status of performance at an international level.

The 25th IRO World Championship for search and rescue dogs took place in Villejust/Paris (FR), 17–22 September 2019, organised by the IRO member organisation Cynotechnie Sapeurs Pompiers France (CSP France). 116 starters from 24 nations proved their skills in the disciplines Tracking, Area and Rubble search. The challenging tests took place on very good terrain, including the excellent rubble site of CSP France. Many visitors from the surrounding region and even beyond the borders of France took the World Championship as an opportunity to experience search and rescue dogs at work. The great team of CSP France organised a fantastic event for the starters, their fans and all visitors. Several guests of honour, including the Austrian Ambassador to France Michael Linhart and José Buggenhout, President of the FCI Rescue Dogs Commission, attended the Award Ceremony and were impressed by the performance of this year‘s starters. In a touching Closing Ceremony the farewell of Marc Courtois, President of CSP France, was acknowledged.


Unfortunately, no Tracking champion could be awarded this year; this and also the relatively small number of entries are an impulse to rethink Tracking in the IRO and at the IRO World Championships respectively. During the Award Ceremony, the IRO trophy for the organisers of IRO World Championships was handed over by Marc Courtois to Liviu Ionescu, President of CNEC (RO) and organiser of the next World Championship. We would like to thank the great team of CSP France for a wonderful World Championship as well as all starters, their fans and visitors of this anniversary World Championship!

Judges and Co-Judges Supervising Judge D. Sedlák (CZ) Main Judge Tracking W. Hoffmann (DE) Co-Judge Tracking H. Hiltpolt (AT) Main Judge Area P. Śabacký (CZ) Co-Judge Area D. Kühn (DE) Main Judge Rubble A. Russegger (AT) Co-Judge Rubble K. Sawada (JP) Main Judge Obedience and Dexterity J. Ternovec (SI) Co-Judge Obedience and Dexterity R. Gerritsen (NL)

Photos: CSP France

IRO Annual Report 2019

WCH results Area World Champs

Andrea Otto with Bugatti

1. Andrea Otto with Bugatti vom Scheidgraben, BRH (DE) 2.

Johann Höttinger with Wauhti-Wiivan Celeborn, ÖGV (AT)

3. Dagmar Banarova with Cir od Vrzalky, SKJ ZKZ SR (SK)

Rubble World Champs 1. Beatrix Belenyi with Zen, FKI (HU) 2. Barbara Pietrusky with Wanjeena‘s Birgit, DVG (DE)

Beatrix Belenyi with Zen

3. Denis Laus with T‘Sheeva de l‘Origine de Faucon Rouge, @fire (DE)

Team World Champs 1.


The team of FRF K9

IRO Annual Report 2019

Marc Courtois, CSP France


International Search and Rescue Dog Day The International Search and Rescue Dog Day is an initiative launched by the IRO, which offers search and rescue dog organisations worldwide the opportunity to present themselves and at the same time give an insight into the valuable work with the four-legged lifesavers.

Since 2008, the last Sunday in April each year has been dedicated to search and rescue dog work. On 28 April 2019 the campaign day took place for the twelfth time. Demonstrations, information events and trial trainings were hosted around the world according to the motto “365 days a year mission-ready”. For the spectators it was a unique opportunity to experience the “rescuers on four paws“ and their dog handlers up close and in action.


The work with search and rescue dogs is not only a hobby, but a way of life. More than 1,000 times a year, teams from the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation are deployed worldwide to save lives. They find people buried under avalanches, search for children or elderly people who are lost. Some dogs even go on international missions following large natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis.


Cinofili Polizia di Stato

With the International Search and Rescue Dog Day, we provide an insight into this important social engagement.

IRO Annual Report 2019

Open House at the IRO Office To celebrate the “International Search and Rescue Dog Day“, the IRO Office in Salzburg opened its doors to the general public for the first time on 26 April 2019. It was an exciting day with lots of interesting information for young and old.

Many interested visitors followed the invitation to the Open House to get an insight into the versatile and demanding work of search and rescue dogs. For this purpose, the spacious garden of the IRO Office was turned into a challenge parcour with obstacles, where the dogs demonstrated their skills to the amazed visitors. Twelve top-class search and rescue dog teams from Austria and Japan could be observed from up close, among them the multiple World Champion Peter Schüler. The spectators were particularly impressed by the abseiling exercise of the Lawinen- und Vermisstensuchhundestaffel Salzburg (LVHS) with young dog Pepper. The President of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation Markus Bock moderated the event, Secretary General Dr. Andrea Thuma led through the premises of the newly designed IRO Office. In addition to representatives of the press, numerous guests of honour were present, including the IRO Honorary President Wolfgang Zörner, the Deputy Mayor of the city of Salzburg Bernhard Auinger and the State Veterinary Director of Salzburg Josef Schöchl. We would like to thank the Department for Culture, Education and Knowledge of the city of Salzburg for supporting the event.

IRO Annual Report 2019


Insights into training

How to become an IRO Trainer? A frequently asked question, and therefore a good reason to take a closer look at this exciting topic. To become a national IRO Trainer, a number of criteria must be fulfilled. Among other things, it is required to be a trainer in one‘s own NRO and to have at least two results in the core disciplines of the IRO at the highest level (T-B, FL-B, F-B). In addition, every interested dog handler must submit a cynological resume describing their professional career. Once these documents are received, the IRO Lead Trainers will check whether the requirements have been met. Once this first hurdle has been taken, the education to become a national IRO Trainer starts with Module I, which lasts four days. During this course, the topics of communication, learning behaviour of the dog and the structure of Rubble search are taught. Module I ends with a theoretical and practical exam. Those who pass these can attend Module II. Module II is all about Area search, alert types, as well as obedience and dexterity. After three days of intensive training, the trainer candidates are given one month to prepare for the cross-disciplinary practical exam. If this part is also successfully completed, there is nothing that prevents a career as a national IRO Trainer.


For national IRO Trainers it is then possible to work as a co-trainer of a Lead Trainer at an IRO Training event in order to deepen their own knowledge and gain experience in international trainings. National IRO Trainers are invited to IRO Trainer courses in order to keep up to date with the latest developments in search and rescue dog training. The aim of national IRO Trainers is to raise the training standard in their own NROs and their country of origin in order to enable a worldwide standardised training of our search and rescue dogs.

According to our motto: “Set standards. Save lives.”, it is important for international IRO Trainers to stay on top of new developments in the training of search and rescue dogs. International IRO Trainers must attend IRO trainer courses at least every three years, have very good German or English skills and lead or have led a dog at IRO exams. International IRO Trainers are furthermore obliged to actively participate in knowledge building and dissemination within the IRO and the IRO NROs according to IRO standards and guidelines.

The next step in the IRO Trainer system is to become an international IRO Trainer. These trainers are assigned worldwide by the IRO as instructors. To become an international IRO Trainer, the candidate must have accompanied a Lead Trainer at least once at an IRO Training and attended an IRO Trainer course. If these prerequisites are met, a well-founded recommendation from the Lead Trainers can be made to the Executive Board regarding the appointment of a national trainer to an international trainer. The Executive Board decides on the appointment as international trainer.


Highest testing level – Rubble


Highest testing level – Area


Highest testing level – Tracking

IRO Annual Report 2019

IRO Trainer Course Module I 18 trainers of national search and rescue dog organisations from six countries met in Wiener Neustadt (AT), 21–24 November 2019, to participate in the IRO Trainer Course Module I. The focus of this Module was on Rubble search and the dog‘s learning behaviour, as well as the trainer‘s communication with the group. Besides theory, the training plan included a lot of practical work on the rubble site of RHVÖ. We would like to thank Hermann Kranz and the RHVÖ for providing the worksite. After three demanding days, during which the IRO Lead Trainers were actively supported by lectures from Andrej Zunic and Jeremias Janki, the theoretical and practical examination took place. Congratulations to all participants who passed the exam. We look forward to Module II!

High five to everyone involved!

IRO Annual Report 2019


Mission-ready at all times

Ready, steady, MRT! IRO Mission Readiness Test for Area search Wiener Neustadt / Hohe Wand (AT) The 5th IRO Mission Readiness Test (MRT) Area took place in Wiener Neustadt / Hohe Wand (AT), 22–27 May 2019, and was organised by the IRO member organisation Rettungshundeverband Österreich (RHVÖ). 24 teams from nine nations – Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands and Russia – faced the challenges of the IRO MRT Area. Among them were five teams, which wanted to extend their Mission Readiness in the Reclassification. The teams had to master two day searches and one night search in very demanding areas and additionally had to pass a GPS and a veterinary exercise. We are very happy about the accomplished reclassification of four teams and the successful completion of the MRT of ten teams. The organisation team of RHVÖ under the coordination of Charlotte Kranz did a great job. We congratulate all participants and thank all classifiers and helpers, without whose great effort an MRT would not be possible!


IRO Annual Report 2019

IRO Mission Readiness Test for Rubble search Zagreb (HR) For the very first time the IRO member organisation Croatian Rescue Dog Association (CRDA) organised the challenging IRO Mission Readiness Test (MRT) Rubble, 16–18 October 2019. 31 teams of 16 national search and rescue dog organisations from eight countries (Denmark, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland and Hungary) competed in Zagreb (HR) – among them five teams that seeked to extend their Mission Readiness in the reclassification. The participants had to be prepared for deployment at any time, day or night, to prove their skills on the demanding worksites. Furthermore, a veterinary exercise had to be successfully completed. We are very happy about four successful reclassifications, as well as eleven further teams, which can now call themselves “IRO mission-ready Rubble 2019“. The CRDA organisation team, coordinated by Vedran Babić, has done a fantastic job.

Photos: JDarja

We would like to congratulate all participants for their great performance and thank the judges and all helpers.

IRO Annual Report 2019


365 days a year mission-ready

IRO Mission Readiness Test for Rubble search Nantou County (TW) Nantou County (TW) was the venue of the IRO Mission Readiness Test (MRT) Rubble in Asia for the second time after 2017. It was hosted by the IRO member organisation Taiwan Special Search and Rescue Team (TSSRT), 5–7 November 2019. 18 teams from Taiwan and Japan – including four teams who wanted to extend their Mission Readiness in the reclassification – came to Nantou County for the MRT. The challenging worksites at the MRT grounds, which are partly actual ruins of the earthquake in September 1999, provided the teams with perfect conditions to prove their skills. We are very pleased that a total of seven teams can now call themselves “IRO mission-ready Rubble 2019“, of which one team succeeded in the reclassification. We congratulate sincerely.

Photos: TSSRT


IRO Annual Report 2019

Certified & recertified search and rescue dog teams – AREA Ida Bårris with Sostack’s Ori, RDA (DK) Hermann Kranz with Enzo vom schwarzen Habicht, RHVÖ (AT) Claudia Krhla with Brisko le petit Esprit, JUH (AT) Borut Modic with Ray of Light, EVRPL (SI) Walter Rammerstorfer with Unja von der Wenzelskirche, SVÖ (AT) Uroš Sečkar with Capone, ERPS (SI) Marco Schmitt with Apollo vom Schopperweg, RHVÖ (AT) Raffaele Luca Telese with Arrack’s Home Pepsi, KVRPP (SI) Cara Tutschek with Fini die vom Ennstal, SKV-KHD (AT) Sava Zibler with Wildclover’s Boundless Joy, EVRPL (SI)

Laszlo Balazs with Symba, PMA (HU) – Reclassification Matjaz Bolka with Colorful Iris, KVRPK (SI) – Reclassification

Classifier Training 2019 Already for the third time the IRO organised a Classifier Training. IRO Classifiers from six nations gathered at the Tritolwerk in Eggendorf (AT), 27–28 April 2019. Besides Classifiers from Japan, Netherlands, Slovenia and Austria, guests from Australia and Taiwan came to attend the special training. The participation is mandatory for all IRO Classifiers in a three-year rhythm and offers the participants perfect conditions to gain a deeper understanding of the IRO MRT Rubble Evaluation System – in theory (lectures and discussions) as well as in the practical evaluation of search work.

Roman Starman with Think twice Pump up the Jam, DRPB (SI) – Reclassification Tomislav Zdencar with Mawlch Witch, KOSSP (HR) – Reclassification

Certified & recertified search and rescue dog teams – RUBBLE Tomislav Zdencar with Mawlch Witch, KOSSP (HR) Igor Goreta with Django, KOSSP (HR) Diána Pinkóczi with Elsamere Nasiir Kevlar, Paw in Hands (HU) Viktória Orosz with Never Never Land N‘enter the Ninja, Paw in Hands (HU) Beatrix Belényi with Zen, FKI (HU) Sarolta Leczki with Karma, FKI (HU) Matteo Romano with You Dinamite Ballacoilupi, La Piota (IT) Raffaele Luca Telese with Arrack’s Home Pepsi, KVRPP (SI) Luca Migliavacca with Xavier, XRD Italy (IT) Anna Maria Bellenzier with Venere, XRD Italy (IT) Dejan Osolnik with Bolt Jutta’s Point, KVRPK (SI) Chin-Lung Chung with Eva, TSSRT (TW) Yann-Hwang Liu with Kathy, TSSRT (TW)

In addition to administrative information and veterinary training, the personal exchange between the Classifiers from around the world is an important part of the course. The regular participation ensures the best possible support for the Classifiers in their responsible task.

Yu-Pin Tseng with Paul, TSSRT (TW) Ying-Jui Lai with Kenna, TSSRT (TW) Kuo-Chih Ling with Beta, TSSRT (TW) Hidehiro Murase with Bunjiro de la Bruyere Blanche, RDTA (JP)

Denis Laus with T‘Sheeva de l‘Origine de Faucon Rouge, @fire (DE) – Reclassification Tilen Škraba with Dakota Spirit FlatXP (Ilvie), ERPS (SI) – Reclassification Claudio Bötschi with Tschinni, HSF (CH) – Reclassification Andrej Zunic with Blisk Juttas Point, KVRPK (SI) – Reclassification Chun-Shen Li with Tie-Shiung, TSSRT (TW) – Reclassification

IRO Annual Report 2019


SAR dogs – a lifesaving resource

Did you know that ... Ten facts worth knowing about SAR dog work Open-minded, obedient & eager to learn. Basically, almost every dog can be trained as a search and rescue (SAR) dog, regardless of breed. It must be healthy, resilient, willing to learn, interested in solving tasks and have strong nerves. In addition, the dog should be of medium size and not too heavy in weight, as it must be carried by its handler in some places.

Search and rescue dog work is teamwork. Together with its handler, the search and rescue dog form a well-coordinated team. Mutual support and trust during training and in case of an emergency are vital in search and rescue dog work. The dog handler must be physically and mentally resilient, have empathy for the dog, be ready for deployment and a team player, and be able to interpret the dog‘s body language correctly. Expertise in first aid for humans and dogs as well as operational logistics are also required.

Training to save lives. Mission teams trained by the IRO have completed two to three years of intensive training – both the dogs and their handlers. Young dogs start playfully with easy search and alert exercises, while experienced dogs must face complex scenarios in terms of nose and obedience work as well as dexterity. Latter is the ability of the dog to move calmly on difficult ground, which may also be unstable, and to overcome obstacles independently.

600 training hours per year. Search and rescue dog work is a time-consuming but fulfilling voluntary work. On average, up to 50 hours of training are required in some months to maintain a high educational level. The training of the dogs often begins at the age of eight weeks. The cost of training a single search and rescue dog for at least two years amounts to about 20,000 Euro.

Leisure time of search and rescue dogs. In their free time, dogs may be dogs: long walks in the countryside, digging holes in the sand, swimming or lying lazily in the sun and doing nothing at all. Of course, they are also kept busy on a small scale, they demand that. But the basic rule is leisure time must remain leisure time and the dogs should be able to rest. A healthy balance between work and rest is very important, especially for search and rescue dogs.


IRO Annual Report 2019

220 million olfactory cells. Dogs possess about 40 times the number of olfactory cells compared to humans and are therefore irreplaceable helpers in the search for missing persons or the rescue of buried persons due to their distinctive sense of smell. With about 220 million olfactory cells, an experienced Avalanche or Rubble search dog can locate and indicate people up to ten meters deep. A trained Area search dog can detect human scent up to 200 metres away. It is therefore far superior to modern technology and to humans.

Prompt assistance. When accidents or catastrophes happen, and people get into trouble, professionally trained search and rescue dog teams are often the only hope. In most cases, the assignments involve searches for people who got lost – usually elderly people, demented or suicidal persons, or children. While human search units need several hours to search a large area, the dog sometimes only needs a few minutes to find the missing person thanks to its fine nose.

6 disciplines, 1 goal – save lives. IRO trains search and rescue dogs in the disciplines Tracking, Area, Avalanche, Rubble and Water search as well as Mantrailing.

Mission-ready 365 days a year. The more than 120 member organisations of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation are on 24-hour standby, 365 days a year.

Well-deserved retirement. With age, as with humans, the efficiency decreases, and age-related limitations become apparent. Here, it is the dog handler’s responsibility to use the dog according to its age-related and physical condition or to withdraw the dog from missions and let him work only in training, dosed and age appropriate. It is important not to take the dogs out of work at once. The task as a search and rescue dog is and was always their life and just like a top athlete they must train down or be employed according to their age.

Donate right now, because every contribution can help save lives.

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IRO Annual Report 2019


From puppy to hero Training a search and rescue dog Golden Retriever Ray of Light was born on 25 May 2011. For his owner Borut Modic, an experienced dog handler from our member organisation Enota vodnikov reševalnih psov Ljubljana (EVRPL) in Slovenia, it was clear at once that Ray of Light has the predisposition to be a search and rescue dog. Borut is a dog breeder himself and has therefore the possibility to follow the development of his puppies attentively from the first day on. “You can see the differences very quickly“, says Borut about the development of the puppies. The most important characteristics of a search and rescue dog for him are curiosity, courage, endurance, level of activity and desire for food. Ray of Light brought all these characteristics with him. He saw food rewards as motivation and played while his siblings were sleeping. Thanks to his adventurous spirit, he was always the first to fearlessly face all the obstacles Borut had built up for the litter. And already as a puppy the male showed great loyalty to his humans. With two to three play units a day, each lasting five minutes, Ray of Light‘s search and rescue dog training already started in the first weeks of his life. “This way the dog collects positive learning experiences and in addition the instincts, which are used in the following training steps, are stimulated“, says the dog handler about the training process. The positive experience is the most important thing for the young dog. Borut pursues the following principle in the training of his dogs: Better no experience than a negative experience. The aim of the training is that searching becomes a game. The first training units are therefore carried out in a playful manner. For motivation Borut uses different means like food, toys or retrieving. This way the dog never knows what to expect and the motivation level remains constantly high. From the age of six months, the frequency of training units is reduced, but the level of difficulty is increased.


IRO Annual Report 2019

Photos: Borut Modic / EVRPL

Search and rescue work is more than dog training, it‘s a lifestyle.

“ IRO Annual Report 2019

As an adult and trained search and rescue dog, Ray of Light currently trains twice a week. In addition, intensive training camps of two to five days take place throughout the year. On top, the search and rescue dog team has already completed numerous International IRO Testing Events, team competitions and Mission Readiness Tests (MRTs) in the fields of Area and Rubble search. After an intensive two-year training, Ray of Light has become a trained search and rescue dog in the disciplines Area, Avalanche and Rubble search since 31 May 2013. Since then the lifesaver on four paws has completed around 50 missions, many of them with a happy ending. “I never see the search for a missing person as the success of an individual, but always as a team effort“, says Borut about the work as a member of the search and rescue dog unit EVRPL. “Nevertheless, it is an indescribable feeling when your own dog has found the missing or injured person. Great relief, contentment and an unbelievable calmness set in – a true rollercoaster of emotions.“ Ray of Light gets his well-deserved reward after every search.



IRO Financial Report Thanks to the hard work and generosity of so many, 2019 was a successful year for the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation. While the income from donations has been declining in recent years, we were able to raise more donations again in 2019 and thus provide our member organisations with more funding. This enables us to maintain the high level of training of search and rescue dogs.

Executive Board. It is a further recognition of the quality of our work. Important steps in this context were certainly also the intensification of donor care by employees of the IRO Office as well as the expansion of our communication activities. The current developments let us hope for a continued positive trend in the coming years.

The fact that we were granted the tax-deductibility status in Austria at the end of 2018 certainly had a positive impact on the new growth in donation income. Achieving this status was a focus topic for the

Furthermore, for the third year in a row we were able to achieve increasing income from participation fees.

Charlotte Kranz Spokesperson for Finance

Income in comparison 2018/2019 73,679

2018 2019


Figures in Euro



NRO membership fees Financial revenues Other income Participation & event fees

24,555 14,300 13,200

NRO membership fees


Financial revenues

Other income

Participation & event fees

756,198 838,162

Donations 881,246

Total revenue



IRO Annual Report 2019

This shows a growing popularity of the training programs (courses, modules, etc.) of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation. Important in this regard is the continuous education and training of the IRO staff – Trainers, Judges and Classifiers. For long-term financial stability, it becomes increasingly important to pursue new fundraising paths in addition to the usual ways of generating funds (private donations, sponsoring and participation fees).

At the same time we want to tap into additional sources of income, also in the countries of our member organisations.

Search and Rescue Dog Organisation and thus the global efforts of our member organisations in search and rescue dog work on a long-term basis.

Further steps and investments are therefore planned, for example in cooperations as well as marketing, in the web shop, in new formats of education and training, and in donor care and acquisition. As in the past, this mix of the proven and the new will continue to ensure the work of the International

Use of funds in comparison 2018/2019 € 1,000,000

€ 945,688.97

€ 954,132.60

€ 800,000

€ 600,000

€ 400,000

€ 200,000

€0 2018


Expenses for statutorily defined purposes » Sponsor money and support for member organisations » Training and testing events

Other expenses

Administrative expenditure » Personnel » Operating costs training grounds & IRO Office

Marketing, PR, Fundraising

IRO Annual Report 2019

Tax and legal advice, translations


What are the costs for an IRO Testing Event? “Events such as international IRO Testing Events, Mission Readiness Tests and the World Championship offer our members the opportunity to test the training status of their search and rescue dogs at a worldwide uniform level. They also represent an important part of the budget of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation. Therefore, in this edition of the annual report, we exemplarily illustrate the costs of an IRO Testing Event.“ – Charlotte Kranz, Spokesperson for Finance IRO Testing Events qualify search and rescue dogs in one of six categories: Tracking, Area, Avalanche, Rubble and Water search and Mantrailing and offer the opportunity for international comparison. To ensure the high quality standards of the IRO, one to three specifically trained judges are assigned to each test. Every year, about 30 IRO Testing Events take place worldwide. The illustration shows the costs of an IRO Testing Event in detail. In addition to these direct costs, the expenses for the preparation, execution and evaluation of such an event have to be considered. This is also costly and time-consuming both for the hosting organisation and the IRO.

Average cost of an IRO Testing Event 2017-2019:

€ 2,500.00



16 % 55 % 26 %

Travel costs IRO Judges (daily allowance) Accommodation costs Miscellaneous (office supply, branding, printouts, etc.)

IRO Annual Report 2019

IRO performance report Broad global network. Bundled competence. All year round, the IRO offers its member organisations the opportunity to prove their competence and skills in Testing Events, Mission Readiness Tests and competitions. According to a strict performance principle, the IRO funding is distributed to the NROs. This ensures that IRO funds are used for the intended purpose and in accordance with the high quality standards of the IRO. The world map illustrates the performance of a country within one year by means of IRO points. All positive results from Mission Readiness Tests, Testing Events, team competitions and the World Championship are taken into account.

over 400 IRO points 150–400 IRO points up to 150 IRO points

123 member organisations. 42 countries. Five continents. One common goal: saving lives. IRO Annual Report 2019


Thank you!

Your support helps to save human lives. Please keep on supporting us.

Donation account International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation Raiffeisenbank Peuerbach IBAN: AT45 3444 2002 0000 1354 BIC: RZOOAT2L442

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IRO Annual Report 2019  

Annual Report of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO), with exciting insights into the training of search and rescue d...

IRO Annual Report 2019  

Annual Report of the International Search and Rescue Dog Organisation (IRO), with exciting insights into the training of search and rescue d...

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