It’s remarkable to hear that dogs, who have long been considered to be man’s greatest friend, have consistently supported firefighters throughout history.
Dalmatians have served as the unofficial mascot for American firefighters for generations. Everything began in the 1700s when the English aristocracy would keep Dalmatians running alongside their horse-drawn carts, scaring off other dogs and any potential hazards along the way. Now, you might wonder why Dalmatians? It’s because they are clever, energetic, and make great friends. Dalmatian folklore also suggests that these famously spotted puppies create particularly strong ties with horses, albeit this is unsubstantiated.
Even after the horses were replaced by engines, firefighters kept the Dalmatians as faithful firehouse dogs. There are still firehouse dogs working in thousands of fire departments across the United Nation. The department’s firemen provide care for these cherished dogs while they reside at the firehouse. Since many of these incredible creatures have undergone training to be fire safety dogs, they routinely appear at events and schools to demonstrate drills like “Stop, Drop, and Roll” and other fire safety-related antics.
Dogs can be incredibly beneficial to firefighters. Putting out the flames is just the beginning of the task firefighters have when fighting a wildfire. If any hotspots or embers aren’t completely extinguished, they can rekindle and start another fire in the days or weeks to come. Finding these hotspots can be challenging for the firemen. Dogs, however, have extraordinary senses of smell that enable them to detect embers and hotspots days before they are likely to rekindle. In Sweden, dog owners are now getting their canines certified to sniff out embers and stop wildfires from starting up again. Several dogs have already completed the training and are actively assisting with fire hazards.
Dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell is also extremely helpful to authorities in the aftermath of fires when they are trying to figure out how the flames started and who was injured. There are Accelerant Detection Canines (ADCs), which are trained to find any substance that was used to create a fire. ADCs can detect even minute amounts of ignitable accelerants, such as gasoline if a fire was started intentionally. This can aid law enforcement in determining the cause of the fire. An insurance claim can be processed more quickly and more efficiently when ADCs are used at fire scenes since they increase the likelihood that people who intentionally create fires will be brought to justice. These dogs are very productive and far more effective than human detectives because they work quickly. They can thoroughly investigate a fire scene in just 30 minutes.
Additionally, they may not always need to investigate the entire site because ADCs are encouraged to mix with the throngs that assemble at a fire scene. The ADC will identify the scent of gasoline or another combustible substance on the clothing of the fire starter if he happens to be among the crowd.
After a wildfire has devastated a region, dogs can help survivors maintain their composure. In damaged places, when temperatures spike, only ash is typically left behind. With no corpses to bury or cremains to scatter, peace might be all but impossible. These canines have been taught to distinguish between the distinctive scent of human ashes and the ash left behind when other materials are burned. They can detect the cremains even after intense burns, where the ashes maybe eight inches deep. These canines’ faithful service and exquisite smelling sensibilities have allowed many grieving humans to mourn, scatter, and remember their loved ones.
What breeds of dogs are hence useful for firefighters?
Arson dogs can detect flammable materials left at fire scenes. They are trained to examine the ashes of suspected fires and sniff for small amounts of typical fire starters like gasoline or lighter fluid. An arson dog will sit near the substance they have been taught to detect when they come across it to warn its master of its presence. Any breed of dog with a strong need for food or toys can be an arson dog. However, most arson dogs belong to the retriever or sporting dog breeds, which include well-known canines like the Labrador Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, and several working spaniels.
Rescue and Search Dogs are typically medium or giant dogs with strong stamina, drive, and dispositions. German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Labradors are excellent Search and Rescue dogs. Dogs trained for search and rescue missions look for lost or missing individuals in urban, rural, and disaster areas. Search and Rescue Dogs are frequently used by fire services to assist in finding or recovering lost people more rapidly.
Tracking dogs follow scent traces that stray humans leave behind on the ground. Whether a person wants to be located or not, these trained scent work canines are excellent at retrieving persons on foot. A tracking dog can go through a range of terrains, including urban ones like concrete or asphalt, when the trail is still fresh. Some tracking dogs are capable of following trails that are several weeks or months old. Tracking dogs are frequently used by fire services to locate missing seniors or lost children. The most well-known tracking breed is the Bloodhound, but Labradors, German Shepherds, and other working dog breeds sometimes excel at the task.
A particular breed of a therapy dog is the Crisis Response Canine. These unusual dogs assist first responders and survivors in decompressing and recovering during emergencies. While some fire departments maintain them on staff, others partner with volunteer teams to offer disaster relief services. Crisis management Canines need to be patient and well-mannered, with a decent temperament and an innate love of people.
Dogs may be a tremendous help when a fire breaks out at a location, producing a major calamity, as Fire Prevention and Consultancy Services likes to point out to everyone. While a fire is raging, these remarkable creatures can assist in many ways to address problems and preserve lives. Although using dogs to prevent fires isn’t common practice in Indian fire departments, we at FPCS think these wonderful animals may perform miracles and save a lot more lives if properly trained and used.