Some GOOD News

The heart and soul of our work at Ground Zero is preparedness and these uncertain times are no exception. Like any disaster or time of crisis, there comes a time when we must pick up the pieces and move forward. As we find our new way forward, we want to share a few updates with you.

You may have seen the announcement on Facebook that we’ve taken steps to ensure our on-site trainers are provided for during this time, thanks to financial support received prior to this crisis from a number of corporate sponsors and donors. As our corporate sponsors and individual donors face unprecedented times, we remain hopeful and grateful that better days are ahead!

While our campus will remain closed to visitors until further notice, we are incredibly grateful to have a plan that allows our trainers to continue our mission. Ground Zero trainers, canines and first responders continue to train daily and will be ready should a disaster occur. 

We appreciate each and every one of you who have reached out to check on us in these uncertain times. Please know that Ground Zero remains committed to our mission and Covid-19 has really shown us how important preparedness is when faced with a number of unknowns, both in our community and throughout the world.

And finally, with all the uncertainty in our world today, may each of us look for ways to share kindness however we can; it really is the Oklahoma standard!

Be sure to follow Ground Zero on Facebook as we make it our goal to bring a smile to your face as we all move forward, together. We’re working to create some fun, interactive, virtual experiences for the entire family!

With love and gratitude,
Becky Switzer
Founder, Ground Zero Emergency Training Center

Stay Home image
The Switzers

Look What We Have Planned for You

We’re following the lead of our friends at the OKC Zoo and museums across the country, to provide educational entertainment for children at home. Here are a few of the things you won’t want to miss!

  • Behind the Scenes at Ground Zero
  • Zero to Hero Training Videos
  • Q&A with Ground Zero Trainers
  • Story Time with Barry & Becky Switzer
  • Adventures with Mr. Magoo
  • And More!

Event Announcements

OKC Memorial Marathon Shirts

Ground Zero OKC Memorial Marathon T-shirts will be printed for the new date of October 4, 2020. If you didn’t get a chance to order your t-shirt, you have some extra time!

Dinner on the 50th image

Due to Covid-19, we will not be able to move forward with the “Dinner on the Fifty,” event, originally scheduled for May 2, 2020. Due to the unique nature of the event and the excitement it generated with our donor base, we are working to secure a date for Spring 2021. We’re in the process of planning a fun event for Fall 2020 that promises to be something to celebrate bringing us together! Details to come!

It’s Not a Matter of If…But When

When it comes to being prepared for a disaster, the facts tell us that it’s not a matter of if, but when. It’s almost too much to think about dealing with a natural or man-made disaster on top of everything we have going on in the world right now due to Covid-19, but staying prepared prevents us from vulnerability should a disaster occur. That’s why we are committed to continuing our training at Ground Zero Emergency Training Center.

As a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, Ground Zero relies on the support of generous corporate donors, foundations and individuals to provide specialized training for first responders and their canine partners. Small or large, every gift makes a difference toward preparedness and saving lives.

Handler with Canine

Feeds one canine for 1 month.

Ground Zero Puppies

Provides vaccines for a puppy in training.

What’s Happening at Ground Zero?

From school and library visits to chamber meetings and ongoing training, the Ground Zero team of trainers, handlers and, of course, canines have been busy sharing the mission with our community! Take a look…


GZ Dogs Wilderness Testing


Several handlers recently passed their final exam for the NASAR SARTECH III Live Find Wilderness certification. Congratulations to Jeff Leon & K9 Venus, Devon Bally & K9 Kylie, Robin Mendenhall & K9 “Big T”.

Wilderness Testing


Congratulations to Jeff Leon & K9 Truman and Amanda Moore & K9 Seven for passing their SARTECH III HRD Wilderness test. This test consists of searching 4 different 1 acre areas, multiple vehicles, and even buildings. Shout out to Tammy Robertson (pictured in the middle) for facilitating the test and making this possible.

GZ Dogs Edmond Fire Department


Dozer and Gus along with the GZ staff visited the Edmond Fire Department Training Facility.

When You Wander Children's book


GZ canines, Garcon, Willow, Magoo, Forrest, Shero and Piper recently visited the Tuttle Library for Storytime and a short demo

Social media is an important platform to share our mission! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, comment and share our posts to help us reach more people!

At Ground Zero, our mission is simple, provide the very best specialized training and preparation for as many canines and handlers as possible in order to save lives when the unexpected happens. 

So, why is it important to support Ground Zero? Here are the top 3 reasons to support Ground Zero:

  1. Lack of Government Funding – Natural and man-made disasters are on the rise and the cost of search-and-rescue teams is straining resources of government at every level.
  2. Life or Death – In the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, timing is everything. The evidence is clear that a trained handler and canine can do in minutes what takes human hours and even days. Being prepared when tragedy occurs can mean the difference between life or death.
  3. Real-life Heroes – In 2019, Ground Zero trained canine and handler teams were involved in a number of important cases including flooding, hurricanes, tornados as well as missing child searches (children are alive and well!).

Learn more about supporting Ground Zero or Contact Us today!

Handler with Dog

Since 2017, Ground Zero has evolved from a personal passion and dream to a thriving nonprofit organization garnering local, statewide and national attention.

The heart and soul of our work is preparedness. It’s not always fun to think about the worst-case scenario, but it’s critical. In the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, timing is everything. The evidence is clear that a trained handler and canine can do in minutes what takes a human hours and even days. Being prepared when tragedy occurs can mean the difference between life or death.

The needs are greater than any one family or organization can handle on its own. We rely on the support of generous corporate, foundation and individual supporters, like you to ensure the availability of skilled canine and handler teams when disaster strikes.

Watch the video to learn more about the work we do to prepare for saving lives: 

2019 was an incredible year for Ground Zero Emergency Training Center. We’ve caught the attention of local media as well as first responders outside of Oklahoma and our network of supporters is expanding daily.

Passing of the Leash

The “Passing of the Leash Ceremony” is a symbolic and meaningful event that takes place at the completion of a canine and handler’s training with Ground Zero. The receiving handler and canine will operate as a single unit as they step forward into their commitment to saving lives. It also gives us a moment to thank and honor everyone who plays a role in preparing the canine and handler team. This year we celebrated 11 canine and handler teams, including:

  • Pepper- sponsored by Devon
  • Indy- sponsored by Express
  • Ally- sponsored by Patterson Oil
Coiled Leash

Spreading the Mission

Sharing the mission of Ground Zero with potential donors and supporters is critical to growing our organization. Ground Zero has been welcomed by so many incredible organizations this year including Explorer Pipeline, Express, Williams and Continental.  Former First Ladies of Oklahoma, Kathy Keating, and Kim Henry also visited the Ground Zero training facility in Tuttle earlier this year to witness, firsthand the work that Ground Zero prepares for each and every day.

Heroes at Work

Tracking the canines, handlers and first responders who have graduated from the Ground Zero training program allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of real-life search and rescue needs. Taskforce members and first responders report the following “call outs” or deployment scenarios:

  • Severe Flooding in Northeastern Oklahoma
  • Spring tornados in El Reno, Oklahoma and Linwood, Kansas
  • Hurricane Dorian in Florida and North Carolina
  • Missing child searches in Kansas and Missouri (children are alive and well)
  • Canine successfully identified the location of a missing fugitive in Arizona (just under 2.5 hours)
  • Canine successfully found a murder weapon to assist in the identification of the murderer


Ground Zero’s commitment to providing superior, specialized training is the key to preparing for a disaster.  This year we provided training for task force members, conducted night drills and created a puppy socialization class for the next generation of Ground Zero heroes.


“Puppy Love” was a fundraising event that creatively combined our love for the new Ground Zero puppies and supporters. Guests enjoyed cocktail hour and puppy snuggles with future heroes, followed by demonstrations with GZ certified canines and dinner while raising money for an important cause! Ground Zero was also selected as a recipient for Remington Park’s special fundraiser, “Remington Bark” this summer.

Ground Zero Board of Directors

Ground Zero Board Members are dedicated to staying on top of relevant issues and topics. In 2019, board members attended Sarkey’s Regional Leadership Forum as well as the Standards of Excellence, hosted by Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.

Dog at work in the brush