Volunteer search and rescue teams are preparing for the stormy season when tornadoes and flash floods strike.
One group of K-9 handlers is prepared to save lives.
East Oklahoma K9 Search and Rescue covers the entire region and deploys its dog teams after major natural disasters.
"We're always on standby," handler Nicole Arthur said. "We have our phones always on day or night."
The group and its volunteers meet every weekend training search dogs.
Handlers put their dogs through everything they could encounter on a real-world mission.
They simulate searches that mimic building explosions, tornadoes or hurricanes.
"It's very labor intensive as far as time consuming as well as the financial deals of equipment training and the food and the care of the dog," Arthur said.
The dogs have seen rescue missions all across our area from Central Oklahoma to all the way to Western Arkansas. They are trained to look for people trapped under the rubble of a tornado or to look for victims of a flash flood.
K9 search teams deployed three years ago to search for victims after flash flooding swept away 16 people at the Albert Pike campgrounds in Southwest Arkansas.
"The dogs are just invaluable tools to allow rescue workers to get the people out and save people's lives as well as bring the people who unfortunately don't make it home to their families," Arthur said.
The group relies on donations to keep its dogs trained and certified for search and rescue.
If you want to donate, you can visit East Oklahoma K9 Search and Rescue's Facebook page by clicking here.