The role of dogs in fire and rescue operations is being increasingly recognized for their invaluable contribution.
From their involvement in the aftermath of natural disasters to their rigorous training from a young age, these four-legged heroes are pivotal in saving lives.
On Wednesday, October 25, 2023, the County of Los Angeles Fire Department’s (LACoFD) California Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) canine teams were acknowledged for their significant assistance following the wildfire in Maui, Hawaii.
The canine teams, led by LACoFD Acting Assistant Fire Chief Derrick Chapman, Fire Captain Celina Serrano and K9, Prentis, Fire Fighter Paramedic Nicholas Bartel and K9, Six, Fire Fighter Paramedic Edward Ruiz and K9, Harper, and Fire Fighter Jonathan Munguia and K9, Clifford, were all presented with a certificate of recognition from Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone and the Executive team.
Addressing the team, Chief Marrone said: “Your impressive skill set, and expertise are the reason you are considered the league of the best of the best and we cannot be prouder of each of you.
“When you received your activation orders, you quickly assembled, left your loved ones behind, and dedicated yourselves to accomplishing the mission.
“Thank you for caring for the people in Lahaina the same way you care about the residents and communities in the County of Los Angeles.”
Their commitment saw them playing a pivotal role in the ongoing recovery efforts in Lahaina in early August 2023, with their 13-day deployment ending on Friday, August 25, 2023.
Their dedication reinforces the department’s core values including integrity, teamwork, caring, courage, commitment, and community.
The Rio Fire Department has introduced new recruits to their kennel: two 4-month-old pups from the German Braco and Belgian Malinois breeds.
Descendants of a long lineage of scent dogs, these pups possess what experts term as the “DNA for rescue work”.
It is projected that these puppies will undergo rigorous training for approximately two years before they are deemed ready for operations.
Their training will prepare them for situations ranging from landslides to searching for people lost in vast terrains such as woods and forests.
Highlighting the importance of early training, the puppies are exposed to various terrains like grass, mud, earth, and rocks right from their early days, mimicking the rubble they might encounter during disasters.
Games are structured to develop balance, agility, and obedience.
“The Rio Fire Department kennel is a reference in the country, with almost 50 certifications.
The work of the drivers and their dogs guarantees precision and agility in the search for victims,” commented* the Secretary of State for Civil Defense and general commander of CBMERJ, Colonel Leandro Monteiro.
The recognition and continual training of canine teams in both the US and Brazil underscore the vital role these dogs and their handlers play in disaster response and recovery.
Their unique skills, from scent detection to agility, complement the efforts of human rescue teams, often making the difference between life and death.
It’s commendable to see the dedication of organizations like LACoFD and Rio Fire Department in nurturing and recognizing the talents of these canine heroes.
*Please note that parts of this article may have been translated using automated software; unintended translation errors may be present,