This week marked the last week of training for the dogs, but there was no let up in pace as lots of new areas were searched and questions asked of the dogs as to their suitability to be a fire investigation dog. We were again excellently hosted and guided by Dave Peplow who arranged the working areas for us at Washington Hall, the Lancashire Fire Training and Development Centre in Euxton, near Preston. We were also very fortunate to be able to use the training facilities at the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Training and Development Academy, near Liverpool.
The focus this week was to replicate as near as possible the working conditions a fire investigation dog has to deal with on any given operational search. As can be imagined the conditions of a fire damaged building can be very challenging for a dog especially regarding insecure footing, the strong odours of burnt materials, and darkness to name just a few.
In these conditions we are looking for a good positive attitude from the dog as well as the ability to remain focused and provide an indication or alert on any flammable liquid, or accelerant that may be present in the search area.
The exercise went well and we were pleased with all of the dogs’ progress and their general attitude when working in the crawling galleries. Tomorrow I’ll post part 2 of week 8 of training describing the different challenges that the ‘fire house’ at the Merseyside Fire Service Training and Development Academy posed for the dogs.