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Rescue dog training
Recently LFF Jason Halls and SARDA’s Julie Cowan coordinated another training session between Dandenong Fire Brigade's B platoon and SARDA (Search and Rescue Dogs Australia), this time at Dandenong Fire Station.
Written by Jason Halls
Training was intended to allow for multi-agency interaction, allowing for both CFA staff and SARDA dog handlers to gain a better understanding of the capabilities that both services have to offer and to maintain our strong working relationships. On this occasion there was three different scenarios setup that the dogs and handlers could undertake.
There was an agility/obstacle course, designed to simulate different situations that could be encountered on a disaster site.
A Rope rescue simulation, which involved the dogs being lifted by the 42m ladder platform to the top of the training tower which they were then connected via harness to a rope rescue operator and lowered to the ground inside the tower. This scenario also tested to see how the dogs reacted with heights, and being harnessed to the underside of the cage without handlers in view.
There was also a search scenario setup using the motoroom with ‘victims’ hiding in and around the appliances, the motoroom was also filled with theatrical smoke to add a further complexity.
SARDA are also currently training a cadaver dog that is used to locate deceased victims. A search scenario was setup using certified human remains allowing this incredible dog to locate the victim in less than a minute. What is most impressive about this was that the dog in training is only 4 months old.
The training partnership is working well and has seen more than four sessions conducted in the last 15 months. With every session comes a challenge to raise the bar with interesting and challenging scenarios to put all members to the test.
Search and Rescue Dogs Australia (SARDA) is a charitable, non-profit volunteer organisation incorporated in 1994 and is based in Victoria and also with teams in Queensland. SARDA currently trains its teams for assessment and deployment in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) with Australian USAR taskforces. Currently SARDA is largely underutilised in a search and rescue capacity. Hopefully with these training partnerships their abilities can be better understood and recognised which will intern have them play a part in smaller scale incidents such as searching for lost or missing persons, instead of reserving them for just the larger scale incidents.