The Mexican Red Cross National Course of K9 units (dog and handler), for search and rescue operations, is taking place in Merida Yucatan this weekend.
The classes began on Thursday February 26, at the local Red Cross facility (Calle 68 between 65 and 67, Centro), and will conclude on Sunday March 1st with a simulation of a live people rescue.
Rubén Hernández , Operations Coordinator of K -SAR ( Canine Search and Rescue Group), explained the purpose of this course in the formation of pairs of dog and handler (binomios), for rescue operations of civilians at risk , during Hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes, explosions, or other emergency life threatening situations.
25 people from Yucatán, Puebla, Oaxaca, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Baja California are participating in this training course, from several institutions, such as the Mexican Red Cross, the secretariats of Navy, Public Security and National Defense, as well as the Merida Municipal Police.
In addition, they will certify eight Yucatecan dogs, that would become “experts” in search and rescue operations. Hernandez said that so far there is no more powerful machine than dog smell, and therefore these animals are used in the search for people in certain situations. “The smell of dog is infallible,” he said.
They are also able to reach inaccessible areas. A dog, he explained, is able to check an area of 100 square meters in less than five minutes, the human would take more than half an hour to search the same perimeter. “In these cases the seconds can make the difference in finding a person alive or dead” . He also said that Yucatán, along with Guanajuato and Oaxaca, are pioneers in training rescue dogs.
“Now eight Yucatecan dogs are going to be internationally certified, with this certification, dogs and trainers will be capable to provide search and rescue services not only in Mexico, but anywhere in the world where required”.
On Sunday March 1st, during the closing of the event, a simulation will be conducted in a “real life” situation, at 6:00 AM.
“The training of the dogs is done through games. They are not looking for people injured or trapped; they are just playing, and saving lives at the same time.“
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