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Cranbrook puppy starts lifesaving training with Kent firefighters

By Luke May

An inquisitive pup is on his way to saving lives as he starts working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

Buzz, a 19-week-old cocker spaniel, has joined KFRS' technical rescue team to start a two-year training course.

At the end, the Cranbrook dog will be able to sniff out casualties when he heads into fires.

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Buzz the dog lives in Cranbrook
Buzz the dog lives in Cranbrook

The latest recruit lives with his search and rescue handler, Andy Parks, travelling with his owner to KFRS Technical Rescue base in Maidstone for training.

Mr Parks said: "Buzz lives at home and is getting used to his work/home environment, and as he completes his training he will become a very valuable work tool asset.

"Rather than getting a snake-eyed camera out of the van for certain search and rescue operations, we’ll get Buzz out, he’s here to do a very specific job.”

The technical rescue team is trained to work in a variety of situations, venturing into sewers, crash scenes and even collapsed buildings.

Buzz's bark will alert his handler to nearby casualties.
Buzz's bark will alert his handler to nearby casualties.

As well as being taught obedience and social skills, Buzz will specialise in air scenting, meaning he will be able to sniff the air and find a human scent on the wind, rather than relying on a trail.

He will be trained to bark when he sniffs out a casualty.

Mr Parks added: “He’s a cute, fluffy pup that everyone wants to make a fuss of but there are rules. When he’s in his cage, he’s left alone, it’s his time, he can sleep in there and he’s safe.

Buzz and his owner Andy Parks
Buzz and his owner Andy Parks

"As he gets older, those rules may be relaxed or he’ll be in a run downstairs in the bay.

“As with any puppy it’s about socialization to different environments, noises, textures, and general obedience.

"Teaching Buzz some manners is important but it’s essential we don’t take his drive away or suppress him so that he thinks he’s got to be sitting by my side all the time.”

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