Dog Corps Goes On The Water
By Tyler M.
Attending a water training seminar in Campville, NY were Eagle Valley Search and Rescue members Rita Argiros and Jenn Culver and Dog Corp students Tyler M. and Adam B.. Amigo Search and Rescue hosted a water training exercise taught under the direction of Lisa Higgins, a water recovery specialist.
The seminar gave team members a rare opportunity to work with air boats and other water rescue equipment.
The Susquehanna River and a local lake gave teams a chance to work in different situations and with a variety of rescue boats. “I am very thankful that Lisa Higgins traveled from Louisiana to teach us and I enjoyed the one-on-one training I received,” said student Adam Baron.
For many dogs and their handlers this was the first time they have worked water problems. Higgins prepared the new dogs and handlers with a mock set-up on dry land. This familiarized the dog with the boat and where they would stand. More experienced dogs took advantage of this exercise to get motivated to tackle the water.
By the third day the handlers and their dogs were ready to board the air boat and test the results of their prior practice. Higgins constructed a training machine to be used on the water called a scent pump.
The scent pump—a tube laying on the floor of the river is connected to either a compressor or diving tank and pumps smells similar to that of decaying body parts to the surface, was pulled across the river as the dogs attempted to indicate to the handler the most potent smell which in turn tells officials the exact location of the subject.
For many, the weekend gave a great first step into the field of water recovery and the progress made would have been impossible without the guidance and experience from all departments. Damaging floods, drowning’s and missing people are all important reasons to learn water recovery. “Search and Rescue is a full time commitment, I am lucky because it is my job, but for others the volunteer ratio is 100% it is good to see people dedicated to help those in need,” said Rita Argiros.