Estero Fire Rescue Firefighter Chris Martin and his canine partner Luther recently passed rigorous state testing to become a certified search and rescue team for Florida Task Force 6 Urban Search and Rescue. Florida Task Force 6 is a state search and rescue team comprised of approximately 73 firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and law enforcement officers representing eight local agencies including Estero Fire Rescue, Ft Myers Beach, Iona McGregor, San Carlos Park, South Trail Fire Department, Lee County Division of Public Safety and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The team specializes in rescue response to incidents that involve confined space, trench rescue, swift water and structural collapse.
Canine searchers play a critical role during structural collapse incidents. The canines help search teams to locate victims, using their incredible sense of smell to detect live human scent, even from a victim buried deep in the rubble. Each canine team must pass a rigorous certification in order to work in search and rescue.
The testing consists of seven disciplines: obedience, bark alert, direction and control, agility, emergency stop, long down and rubble search. Training for a canine team can take one to three years to master the skills needed and ongoing training is vital to their success in the field.
Firefighter Martin and Canine Luther tested and passed on the first testing with Canine Luther being only 19 months old. Estero Fire Rescue is proud to have this amazing duo serving the citizens of Lee County. For more information on this story, contact Susan Lindenmuth, Public Relations Manager for Estero Fire Rescue at (239) 390-8000.