Search Dog Training
25 October 2016
The latest Civil Defence Search Dog training weekend took place on Friday the 21st to Sunday the 23rd October. Training was delivered by a very experienced police dog trainer from the UK. This year the 4 operational Civil Defence Search Dogs have been trained and tested across the wide variety of operational terrain encountered by Civil Defence. With mountainous upland, forestry, river bank and coastal searches completed over previous weekends, this weekend dealt with searches across working farmland and built up commercial areas.
Training commenced late on Friday evening at the Phoenix Training Centre. This included a night search in the Phoenix Park itself.
On Saturday training moved to a rural area in Co. Meath. This area included woodland, riverbank and open farmland. A series of exercises were undertaken by both the cadaver and air scenting dogs.
On Sunday morning further exercises were completed on the Range at the Phoenix Training Centre. The group then travelled to an industrial estate in Co Meath. Here the dogs were trained and tested in an urban search environment with live traffic hazards for both handlers and dogs.
The training drew to a close on Sunday afternoon. Dogs were trained in and around collapsed structures, on working farmland and in the urban environment. The training instructor was satisfied with the skills and competencies demonstrated by dogs and handlers over the weekend. The handlers would like to thank the instructor and the Civil Defence Branch for facilitating the training. The handlers also wish to extend their appreciation to their respective CDO’s for their continued support for the Search Dog resources. This training could not take place without the time given by the ‘dogs bodies’ (Volunteers who hide in ditches etc waiting to be found by the dogs).
The Civil Defence K9 handlers are Marcel Steenkist (Laois), Michael O’Sullivan (Dublin), Mark Condon (Tipperary) and Kealan McMoreland (Meath).