In disasters such as earthquakes, disasters and fires, search and rescue teams have a great job. For someone under the rubble, every second counts. A human’s access to debris is different from a dog’s. Dogs can smell and locate under debris with their sense of smell. He can get under the wreckage and search.
Switzerland is known as the first country where search and rescue dogs appeared. After too many people go missing in the Swiss Alps, they begin training their hunting dogs in search and rescue. II. The importance of search and rescue dogs in World War II is understood. Thereupon, German shepherd dogs are also started to be trained. In 1950, search and rescue dog training schools were opened in Europe.
Search and rescue dogs are trained to find people lost in nature and people trapped under debris. The training process of the candidate dogs proceeds as follows:
“In the first place, they go through two years of intensive training. They have ‘basic obedience’ where they learn to take simple commands, ‘basic skills’ where they learn to eat and toilet, ‘advanced obedience’ where they can execute complex commands, obedience to any specified person, and complex skills such as tracking. They receive ‘advanced skills’ training. In addition to these, they undergo training such as tracking, search and rescue, gas leak, fire and natural hazard reporting.”
First Search and Rescue Dogs: St. Bernard
Known for the barrels on their necks and identified with Switzerland, St. Bernards were the first search and rescue dogs. The oldest known stories are about 11. corresponds to the century. Located on the Italian-Swiss border, Great St. Bernard Pass is a very difficult pass. In 1123, this gateway was named after Great St. Bernard Guesthouse is built.
In the 1600s, dogs began to be bred to be used in various jobs here. These dogs help the monks and servants in the guesthouse to find their way. When they discover that dogs have many features such as navigating in fog and storm, warning about the approaching avalanche, they start training to develop these features.
They search in groups of two or three to find people who are under the rubble or in distress. When they do, someone stays with them to warm them up and prevent them from losing consciousness. The other notifies the search team. In nearly 200 years, St. St. Bernard dogs are thought to have saved 2,000 people who used the pass.
Mancs, Hero of the 17 August Earthquake
Born in Hungary in 1994, Mancs was specially trained. Mancs, who gave full credit to the education he received, became a part of Spider, Hungary’s most important search and rescue team. Search and rescue teams came from all over the world for the Gölcük Earthquake that took place on 17 August. Among the teams that came, was the team including Mancs.
There was information that a child was in the wreckage of a destroyed four-storey house in the Bekirpasa town of Izmit. Thereupon, Mancs is made to smell the child’s quilt. Mancs located the boy, but the wreckage was such that it would take a long time for teams to reach the boy. Thereupon, Mancs began to carry water to the boy. He wagged his tail every time he came out, saying that the boy was alive.
4-year-old Souvenir was pulled from the rubble 82 hours later. He helped save many people with Memorabilia. He saved the lives of dozens of people not only in Izmit, but also in dozens of search and rescue operations.
In 2004, a statue of Mancs was erected in the city square of Miskolc in Hungary in recognition of his achievements. Mancs died of pneumonia in 2006.
Frida, Mexico’s Famous Search and Rescue Dog
The Golden Labrador breed Frida took part in a total of 53 searches in Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala and Ecuador. To date, he has helped 12 people to be rescued from the rubble and 40 people’s bodies to be found.
He gained international fame with his role in a school wreck in Mexico City. It played an important role in the earthquake that killed about 300 people. He attracted great attention with the glasses and shoes he wore while entering the wreckage.
He retired when he was 10 years old. The Mexican Navy’s rescue dogs unit held a ceremony for Frida, retiring her. His caregivers are doing their best to make sure he has a happy retirement life.
Chance Involved in the Van Earthquake and the Soma Disaster
A dog named Sans, who worked in the Izmir Municipality Fire Department search and rescue team, played a major role in removing an 11-year-old boy from the rubble in the 2011 Van earthquake. He also took part in search and rescue efforts in the Soma Disaster that took place on May 13, 2014, after the Van Earthquake.
Chance, who played an important role in saving the lives of many people, passed away in 2017. He was buried with a ceremony organized by his trainer İbrahim Yılmaz and İzmir Fire Department.
Ankara Dogs Ex and Dora Saving Lives in Elazig
Expert trainer Halil İbrahim Ünver from Ankara Fire Brigade Dog Search and Rescue Team found Ex when he was 2 months old and Dora when he was 3 months old on the street. He took care of it. The dogs, who had been trained for a long time, were successful in the exam organized by AFAD and joined the search and rescue team.
Halil İbrahim Ünver describes Ex and Dora as follows: “I looked at my house for a while. He was in a very bad mood psychologically. Even when he loved himself, he was afraid and especially hid when he saw other big dogs. Then I brought him to our Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Fire Brigade office. Over time, he got used to other people and dogs here, and opened up. His movements changed and he was no longer afraid. With my team. ‘Could it be a search and rescue team from a stray dog?’ We talked and we put him through various tests and he passed all the tests successfully. Finally, we took him to a 6-month training period. In the International Search and Rescue Dogs Examination organized by AFAD in Afyon, ‘Dora’ found 5 of the 6 survivors and we got our certificate. Finally, in the earthquake that took place in Elazig, our dog named ‘Ex’ determined 2 places, and after ‘Dora’ pointed that area, one of our citizens, one of whom was injured, and seven of our citizens who lost their lives, were taken out there.”
Bob the K-9 Dog Rescues a Cat After 30 Hours in Izmir
Not only people are harmed in earthquakes. Creatures such as cats, dogs and rabbits trapped under the debris are also waiting to be rescued. In the Yılmaz Erbek Apartment, which collapsed in the Izmir Earthquake on October 30, 29. One cat was rescued per hour. The cat’s rescuer was Bob, the search and rescue dog.