This February, we are thanking our local first responders — Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians, Police Officers, and Search and Rescue/Recovery teams — who keep our communities safe! It’s a thankless job with long hours and uncertain outcomes. Norman Air wants to stand with our first responders and let them know that they are valued. Please join us in supporting, thanking, and donating to local first responders!

We are offering 10% off service call fees for first responders. Please mention this offer if you are a Police Officer, Firefighter, or EMT needing service!

We are also doing a Matching Funds Fundraiser for the Red Dirt Oklahoma Search and Recovery (OSAR) team! These teams train year-round to be able to provide top-notch, certified (and free) assistance to families needing help locating a loved one. Donate through our donation portal and we will match your donation dollar for dollar (up to $2,000).

Meet Red Dirt OSAR:

How does your group get called out to do searches?

We only respond to calls from law enforcement, fire departments, or Emergency Management. We have a callout phone number or someone in our team may get contacted directly. We often partner with other SAR teams and organizations, such as Autism Oklahoma.

Why Autism?

Nearly half of all children with autism will run away and potentially go missing at least once before their 17th birthday, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that about 1 in 3 young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has tried to wander off. This behavior may continue to happen in older children and even teenagers and adults with ASD.

Do the dogs perform live, air-scenting, or trailing searches?

We have K9s that do:

  • Area Live to Find searches: involving air scent
  • Trailing: following the scent on the ground, typically along the path a person took, although a scent does and can move
  • Human Remains Detection (also known as cadaver): cadaver implies whole body, but the dogs can locate a single tooth, blood, or small amounts of tissue

What happens when you get onsite, ready to do a search?

As soon as we get a call for assistance, the first thing we do (at the same time working to deploy) is start asking questions about the missing child/person so we can identify the lost person’s behavior.

There is a statistical-based science to lost person behavior. Based on age/mental health (autism, depression, dementia, suicidal tendencies, etc.) and lots of other characteristics, we can look at the statistical information and work to start predicting the highest probability search areas. Once we have the high-probability search areas, we can deploy our resources effectively. We also prepare maps for all of our searchers to use— with the mapping software, we can develop/assign search areas and record tracks or clues.

When kids run away, we want to help give a direction of travel, once on site. Most of the time, there isn’t a witness to tell which way the child went. A trailing dog can help determine the direction of travel of the child. Once that’s established, resources can be sent ahead to look for additional clues, while the dog continues to trail the person. Area dogs can be used to search/clear large high-probability areas where the child may possibly be.

Fun Facts

Scent detection dogs are amazing animals. Here are some fun facts about how they operate:

  • SAR dogs can detect smells as small as 1 part in ten quadrillions, 100 million times greater than humans!
  • One SAR handler team can clear an area of ~.5 square miles per day on average, doing the work of 20-30 human searchers!
  • On average, a SAR handler spends 1,000 hours per year becoming field-ready. The dogs log ~600 hours per year.
  • Dogs detect chemicals (target odor) carried in the air to their noses. Their unique anatomy allows them to compare whether the scent is stronger in their right nostril or left nostril and then they navigate through the odor plume to find the source of the odor!
  • The scent is a moving target, carried and distorted by wind. A handler’s job is to help their dog get to where they need to be, so they can find the scent trail. Temperature, humidity, and terrain also affect scent movement!
  • Well-trained scent detection dogs can detect scent sources from a distance of up to ¼ mile or more. The longest detected was two miles away, by a SAR dog in the Alaskan tundra!

Meet The Dogs:

Rumble is a 10-year-old chocolate Lab. His reward for finding his subjects is FOOD!! He doesn’t care what kind of treats, but he wants a lot of them. His favorite thing to do is sleep, when not searching or riding in the car. Rumble is certified in Area Live Find searching and Human Remains Detection.

Duke is a 4.5-year-old Bloodhound. His favorite toy after finding his subjects is his “Bunny.” He turns into a huge puppy when he plays with his bunny! He loves to chase, jump and tug with it. Duke is certified in Trailing searches.

Dolly is a 4-month-old black Lab/Bloodhound mix. She loves riding in the car, squeaking toys and treats. Dolly is in training to become a Human Remains Detection K9.

Morty is a 6-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. His favorite toy is ANYTHING that squeaks. Morty is certified in Human Remains Detection.

Myrtle is a 9-month-old Bluetick Coonhound. She loves rawhide bones and anything that squeaks. Myrtle is in training for Trailing.

Natty is a 4-year-old blonde Shepherd mix. Her favorite toy is a furball, but she loves snacks as well! Natty is certified in Area Live Find.

Slim is a 2.5-year-old Bloodhound. He loves his green ball and really loves liver! Slim loves to run his trails and is a certified Trailing K9.

Extra is a 2-year-old working-line German Shepherd. Her favorite toy is a ball on a string. Extra is working to become certified in Human Remains Detection.

Clara is a 5-year-old Labrador Retriever. She is CRAZY for tennis balls and is working to get certified as a Live Find Area K9.

Paisley is a 2.5-year-old Boxer cross. Her favorite toy is any toy that another dog has and she LOVES food! She is specializing in Human Remains Detection.

Harley is an 8-year-old Retriever mix. He loves his food and people! He is a certified Human Remains Detection kK9.

Maggie is an 8-year-old American Bully mix. She loves her tug toys! She is a certified Human Remains Detection K9.

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