‘Rescued’ Dog Teams Join Rescuers in Japan
17 March 2011 at 12:27 pm
As Not for Profits all around the world mobilise their teams in response to earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, one organisation is providing a unique rescue operation.
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF), a Not for Profit organisation dedicated to recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters, has deployed its Canine Disaster Search Teams to Japan .
Six dogs and their firefighter-handlers trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation are searching the wreckage in Ofunato City on the North East coast of Japan to find survivors buried alive in the rubble.
Their base of operations is a gymnasium which they share with and a British Task Force they have partnered in the search effort.
The job of the Search Dogs is to find live victims, conscious or unconscious, in the debris left by the earthquake and tsunami. All rescue personnel await a "Bark Alert" from the dogs, letting them know there is someone in need of rescue.
Equally important is the dogs' ability to "clear" an area by determining that there is no one alive in the wreckage, and the rescue crews can move on to the next site.
SDF Founder, Wilma Melville says every minute counts as the teams work to find people buried beneath the rubble.
Melville says that after the Haiti deployment, this is a battle-seasoned group.
SDF is the only organisation in America dedicated to partnering rescued dogs with firefighters and providing them at no cost to fire departments to find people trapped in the wreckage of disasters.
Melville says they have rescued hundreds of dogs since the organisation was founded in 1996, many on the brink of euthanasia, and turned them into highly skilled rescuers.
Their 71 teams have responded to 76 disasters, including the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti earthquake – where they helped bring 12 people to safety.
SDF will train 21 new teams in 2011 (at a cost of $15,000 per team) to be ready for the next local, national or international disaster.
SDF receives no government funding and relies solely on support from individuals, private foundations, and companies to provide this critical resource-at no cost to fire departments or taxpayers.
They have trained 117 Search Teams, 75 of which are currently active.
For more information go to: http://www.SearchDogFoundation.org, and follow the teams on Facebook
(http://www.facebook.com/NationalDisasterSearchDogFoundation) and Twitter