Rescue dogs spot FEMA certification at Aggregate Industries site

Source: Aggregate Industries (US), Waltham, Mass.

Aggregate Industries and Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team (MA-TF 1) will host a Federal Emergency Management Agency Canine Certification June 9–10 at the producer’s Littleton, Mass., operation.

Twenty-four rescue dogs—mostly Labrador retrievers, German shepherds or collies from across the country—and their handlers will undergo rigorous testing, including a search for volunteer “survivors” under specially designed rubble piles replicating those in FEMA events. Aggregate Industries built a K-9 testing facility at Littleton in 2010, when it first hosted the certification with MA-TF 1, one of 28 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces.

Enthusiastically concurring with the certification site selection, Aggregate Industries (US) CEO Bernard Terver notes, “FEMA, MA-TF 1, and the rescue dogs do an incredible job and perform an indispensable service to both our nation and the world.”

“To be able to focus in the chaotic environment of a disaster-site, urban search and rescue dogs need to be comfortable working on rubble piles of collapsed buildings,” adds MA-TF 1 Assistant Program Manager Anita Arnum. “This can only be achieved by training and testing exercises like the one in Littleton. We greatly appreciate the company’s contribution and ongoing support and thank them for providing realistic training conditions.”

Rescue dogs and handler teams must be re-certified every three years, submitting to tests of their command control, agility, barking alert skills, and willingness to overcome fears of tunnels and wobbly surfaces.