[04/MAY/2022] NEW K9 DOG TO SERVE LSFD & SAN ANDREAS

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Jennifer Schneider
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NEW K9 DOG TO SERVE LSFD & SAN ANDREAS
4th of May, 2022
LSFD Public Relations Supervisor Jennifer Schneider
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The Los Santos Fire Department welcomed a new K9 dog, Terry (Australian Shepherd from San Bernardino) a few weeks ago. The K9 unit is part of the Urban Search and Rescue division and the fire department has 4 handlers in total. Handlers along with their dogs are assigned to either Station 3 in Davis or Station 1 in Paleto Bay. LSFD K9 dogs are trained to locate missing persons and also to find live humans who may be buried in collapsed or destroyed structures. Each dog has its own handler. Our dogs can also be deployed to large-scale national disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. K9 handler teams are ready to search for people even in the most adverse terrain and conditions. Be it forests, mountains, swamps, deserts, or urban environments, in any weather and any time of day.
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(Runa, Ares, and Terry before a training exercise at Station 6, LSIA)

Canines can safely and quickly cover a large disaster zone and are trained to follow directions from their handler at a distance. They can work four to eight hours without getting distracted and can cover about 2.5 times the distance a handler does. The dogs are trained in special zones such as destroyed buildings, forests, and so on to simulate calls they can respond to. All dogs learn the skills needed to maneuver and explore, sniffing out the scent of live humans who are trapped beneath the layers of concrete. LSFD K9 dogs are also trained to locate human remains. Dogs can work independently of their handler in trained search grids, and K9 has modern GPS equipment to navigate, track movements, and progress to make sure that searches end in success. Selected pups undergo intense training until they are ready to be matched with a human partner. The partners then train for months to be certified search and rescue specialists. All of our dogs are trained in search and rescue (SAR) only, utilizing scent.
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(Terry during his first search and rescue drill accompanied by Runa on Mount Gordo, April 2022)

K9 handlers must not only be skilled, be able to improvise and show teamwork and independence as appropriate, but also be able to form a bond with their partner and trust them the same way they would trust a human colleague. To help achieve that, all our dogs are also family pets with their respective handler when they are off-duty, giving them a home, and all our current dogs have been or are being raised by their handlers themselves. You could meet one of our dogs in a park the same way as any other dog when they are in their free time.
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The K9 unit is currently using two Declasse Alamo's 2600LS with callsigns K9-3 and K9-1 for transport. K9-3 is stationed in Davis meanwhile K9-1 is stationed in Paleto Bay. Both vehicles are equipped with special K9 transport boxes and also accessories such as water bowls, air circulation fans, ventilation, heat alarm units, lights, and others. Vehicles are capable of off-road transport since most of the calls K9 members are responding to are in hard-to-reach locations. K9 is also using transport boxes so they can travel in any vehicle when required. If the terrain is inaccessible for ground units, some of our K9 handlers are also members of the Air Operations Division as Flight Crews so they can be hoisted from the helicopter along with their dogs.

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Meet Ben, Runa, Ares and Terry!

Ben
Ben is a 4 years old Border Collie from Bakersfield. He's serving the department for several years and was already deployed in numerous situations. His home is at station three in Davis and is assigned to the K9 coordinator, Captain Simmons. Ben likes long walks, swimming, and sausages.

Runa
Runa is a 3 years old Golden Retriever from Portland. The dog is currently assigned to Captain Khan and is also stationed at station three. Runa is serving along with Ben for several years and they both helped in several search and rescue operations. Runa is a very active dog so she enjoys playing anything with everyone, no matter if they're a human or another animal.

Ares
Ares is a 2 years old Siberian Husky from San Diego. Ares is being actively deployed and he helped locate two missing people at Mount Gordo just a few days ago. The dog is assigned to K9 Search Specialist Morel and his home station is also station three along with Ben and Runa. Ares enjoys running and swimming.

Terry
Terry is our newest K9 dog and is only 8 months old, currently still in training. Terry is an Australian Shepherd from San Bernardino and his home is in Paleto Bay, station one. The dog is assigned to K9 Search Specialist Santiago. Terry is currently undergoing intense training where he will be tasked with locating several hidden humans while ignoring food and other distractions. Once he locates the victim, he'll alert the human partner with a specially trained bark designed to bring rescuers to the specific location. Terry had his first deployment to a live drill in April 2022. Terry likes belly rubbing and tug wars.
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(From the left: Cpt. Simmons + Ben, Eng. Santiago + Terry, in the back FF3 Morel + Ares and to the right Cpt. Khan + Runa)

Special thanks go to K9 Coordinator Captain Simmons for the help with the article and additional info she provided. Our Canines are ready to respond every single day and the dogs love their job, ready to search anytime. Image Interested in our work? Follow LSFD Scene Reports! Frequently updated with new calls and interesting situations the department is responding to. LSFD FacebrowserImage; Recruitment; Press Releases;
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SPACER
JENNIFER SCHNEIDER
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SUPERVISOR
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HEADQUARTERS, ROCKFORD HILLS
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT LIAISONS, PUBLICATION SPECIALIST




#53643
PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIVISION
EX SENIOR LIFEGUARD
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