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A Buzz-eye-view of a search and rescue

A 'Buzz-eye-view' of a search and rescue

03 July 2019

Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS’) very own canine crew member Buzz, is now well on his way to becoming a fully operational search dog within the technical rescue team.

The cocker spaniel started his basic training with our Technical Rescue team when he was just six months old. Now, 12 months on, and thanks to the dedication of his handler Andy Parks, Buzz is making excellent progress with his training schedule.

During a recent three-day UK training exercise held at Waddington Training Ground, Andy managed to capture a true ‘Buzz-eye-view’ on camera when training on piles of debris, designed to replicate a large-scale building collapse. So what’s going through Buzz’s mind in the video?   

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Buzz in training (credit: Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service)

“Buzz primarily relies on his strong sense of smell to detect and rescue a live casualty”, says Andy.

"When watching our footage from his most recent large-scale training exercise, see if you can spot his head jerking up or moving quickly to the side (which is what we sometimes call a ‘head knock’). This means he’s had a whiff of a human or live casualty. That’s when you know he’s close to finding someone. Although he’s still in training, we trust him enough now to let his instinct and ability lead on the situation to detect and find casualties.”

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Buzz is currently in training to pass his National Resilience (USAR) which involves a comprehensive training programme developed by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Resilience Team. The course is made up of seven modules, from basic handling to complex search capability, with an important final assessment determining whether Buzz will “make the grade” to become fully operational. Once Buzz has graduated, he will be called upon to search and detect live casualties in major incidents such as building collapses, and even international rescue missions.

Outside of work, Buzz lives at home with Andy, along with his two-year old brother Max. He travels to and from work in a climate-controlled van, with a special ‘K9’ call-sign, and even has his own KFRS photographic identity badge. Buzz is due to graduate at the end of the year and you can keep up with some of his regular training activities by following KFRS’ Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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