We were on the road this week taking the trainees (Geoffrey, Millie, Lucy and Mansell) to Preston where we met up with Dave Peplow who hosted us at Washington Hall the International Fire Training and Development Centre in Chorley, Lancashire. The purpose of the visit was to start familiarising the dogs to the types of environments that they will be exposed to as fully trained fire investigation dogs.
One of the first tasks was to expose the dogs to the scent of accelerant amongst burnt materials. Dave explained that when materials such as carpet, different types of styrene and plastics have been burnt the chemical composition changes which is similar to that of accelerants and so posing a challenge to dogs who have to differentiate between scents at a fire scene.
A training session was set up to expose the dogs to burnt materials using cooking pots (very high tech!) and working the dogs over the pots, exposing them in a controlled way to burnt material.
The video clip below shows Lucy being run over the pots on a scent discrimination exercise.
Next week is week 8 and the last of training, but still with a lot to do. We’ll be up in Preston again and conducting more fire scene familiarisation training.