My name is Sebastian Erner and I am Head of Training of the BRK Rettungshundestaffel Fürth (Fürth-based squad of rescue dogs aligned to the Bavarian Red Cross). I’ve been working with rescue dogs for nine years.

Search and rescue: dogs and handlers in action

We use protective equipment on a near daily basis at the BRK Rettungshundestaffel Fürth. Various measures are taken to ensure personal protection according to the field of application.

If we take area searches as an example, sturdy footwear is a must for handlers conducting these with their dogs as they predominantly cover fields and woodland. Depending on the terrain and vegetation present, protective spectacles, suitable gloves as well as a protective helmet may also be required.

Rubble searches are another part of our work. These demand a complete arsenal of personal protective equipment at all times. Anyone without this would be denied site access by the head of operations responsible for the search. This means that it is imperative to wear S3 class safety footwear, a protective helmet with chinstrap and gloves. uvex’s helmets are distinguished by their excellent level of wearer comfort. The quattro line of protective footwear from the uvex brand has been used for several years and continues to prove its worth time and again.

The final type of search which we provide training for in Fürth is mantrailing. These searches are primarily limited to urban and inner-city areas. As this involves handling a dog on a lead and being guided as it follows a scent, it is definitely advisable to wear gloves. This activity puts great strain on the palm area. A search with the mantrailing team can easily cover several kilometres. The lead between man and dog on these searches will mostly be taut, due to the fact that the dog must guide its master to the location of the missing person. This requires hard-wearing shoes that fit perfectly so as to avoid causing blisters for the dog handler.

Successful in the future

We are always looking to improve our abilities and are targeting a continuation of our impressive efforts in saving lives in the future. Between four and six rescue dog training units are completed each week. These also constantly work in collaboration with other organisations, such as water and mountain rescue services as well as other rescue dog squads and emergency services.

Alongside support from uvex, the animal foundation Schantin has donated articles for the dogs which help ensure their wellbeing and allow them to carry out their essential work. As mentioned above, because everything takes place on a voluntary basis, we can only reiterate how thankful we are to have these companies on our side. They really make a significant contribution to the search for every missing individual.

The BRK currently includes 39 rescue dog squads with over 100 search dog handlers. The Fürth-based squad was founded in 2008 and has steadily grown since then, achieving professional status in the process.

Rescue dog work is a purely voluntary arrangement for participants. Our squad currently consists of 11 dog handlers with 12 dogs, not forgetting the equally important helpers without whom training would often be impossible.

At this point we would like to thank everyone for their support. We are always open to further collaborative efforts.

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