SANTA PAULA, Calif. (KABC) -- As rescuers in Turkey and Syria continue to search for survivors in the earthquake zone, they're getting much-needed help from dogs trained to help during disasters. Some of those canines are from Southern California.
Just hours after the deadly 7.8 earthquake struck earlier this week, the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team was ready to go - and with them, six K-9 members of the team.
Those dogs were all trained at the Search Dog Foundation in Santa Paula.
At that facility, former rescue dogs who might be too energetic to be adopted, are turned into heroes. They're trained to find survivors of disasters, such as a massive earthquake.
"They are air-scenting dogs that sense the presence of live humans trapped under rubble and other types of disaster materials," said Many Tisdale, director of canine behavior and training.
SDF boasts 145 acres of disaster scenarios from earthquakes to tornado damage, and more.
"We have a train wreck, we have a collapsed freeway, we try to incorporate as many elements of disaster search as we can," said the foundation's Denise Sanders.
"When those dogs and those handlers go out the door and they step off that plane or that bus at a disaster site, they know what they need to do and they have experienced something similar that they can pull from."
Up to 40 former rescue dogs train at that facility at any given time, and it can take up to a year or more for a dog to be ready for deployment. But when they do, there's a lot of pride back in Santa Paula.
"I almost can't describe it. It's a really powerful experience knowing that our teams are out there doing what they've been trained to do - help people on their worst day," Tisdale added.
The dogs that train at SDF arrived in Turkey with their L.A. County fire handlers early Wednesday morning - dogs who were given a second chance at life, now saving lives themselves.