Cheshire Search and Rescue Dog Team

Cheshire has one search dog called Bryn. His handler is Steve Buckley, a firefighter based at Knutsford Fire Station.

Bryn the search and rescue dog and his handler, Cheshire firefighter Steve Buckley went to Nepal on Sunday 26th April 2015 as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team.

Find out more about the search and rescue teams in Nepal.

The role of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Dog Team

The primary role of an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Dog Team is to assist the Fire and Rescue Services in dealing with search phases of incidents.

The Search Dog teams also conduct urban/rural lowland searches, giving assistance to local Fire and Rescue Services and/or Police Forces for location of missing persons.

The teams are on call 365 days a year for immediate deployment to incident's and are made up of Fire and Rescue Service personnel located throughout the UK.

The search and dog team

A search dog team consists of one dog and handler, together with a safety coordinator.

The dog handlers  qualified USAR Technicians and will be licensed by the Chief Fire Officers Association's (CFOA) to the national USAR canine standard.

Use of the Search Dog Teams

Search Dog Teams can be used to support the Incident Commander in the following areas:

  • The excellent scenting capabilities of dogs can be used within a collapsed structure to detect the presence of live casualties and help to identify their location either on or within the collapsed structure.

  • They are able to search large open areas in a short space of time, compared to using large numbers of FRS personnel or other equipment.

  • Confidence to close the search phases of an incident having used the full range of search capabilities available.

Methods of detection

There are three methods of detection available for use in locating casualties:

  • Scent - Dog search, which works on detecting the scent of a living person.

  • Sound - Listening devices.

  • Vision - Cameras that show images in confined spaces.

Used individually, the above technical search tools all have limitations. However, when combined, they form a comprehensive technical search capability available to Incident Commanders in order to identify and determine the location of the live casualties.

This systematic technical search process should be utilised by the Incident Commander in order to formulate a rescue plan, when casualties are located.

Last updated: Wednesday 16 September 2015