About the Internationale Rettungshunde Organisation (IRO)
The Internationale Rettungshunde Organisation (International Rescue Dog Organisation) is dedicated to defining internationally recognized canine search and rescue standards, and the training and testing of handler/K9 teams for eventual deployment to global disasters. The IRO was formed in 1993 (the main office is located in Salzburg, Austria) and is the worldwide umbrella organization for all national organizations working under IRO standards.
The IRO is a non-profit organization with an international executive board. Currently, there are over 110 member organizations in 38 countries. It is funded through membership fees as well as sponsorship money from supporting organizations and individuals. Funds are used to support training and testing of teams, to send K9 handlers to international disaster sites, and to cover the expense of administering such a large, international organization.
The IRO works in cooperation with the United Nations Organization (UNO), the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as well as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). In addition, in 2006, the IRO partnered with the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) (the international canine federation responsible for the breeding and training of all breeds) in order to develop standardized testing requirements and testing opportunities for search and rescue dogs.
Developing and Maintaining Mission-Ready K9 SAR teams through Sport Competitions
The IRO, through its association with the FCI, promotes the world of K9 SAR competition. These competitions serve a dual purpose: both as a means to test and qualify K9 teams, and to ensure qualified teams remain sharp and ready for deployment.
The IRO Standards for Testing
The IRO Standards are reviewed every few years and updated. They offer tests in the following areas:
The current standards for testing (which describes all elements of both the search work and obedience/dexterity components) may be found here. Only RH-F, RH-FL and RH-T (Tracking, Area and Rubble) will be offered at the CAST 2017 IRO Test.