Fire Service Dogs

The Dog Team at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is made up of two highly trained Labradors - Cracker and Echo. Both dogs are handled by Crew Commander, Mike Dewar and travel in a specially adapted vehicle for their comfort and safety. The dog team is available round the clock to attend emergency incidents and fire investigation scenes.

Mike Dewar and Cracker.

Cracker is a Fire Investigation Dog, sometimes known as a Hydrocarbon detection dog.  Between 2004 and 2006, 2,254 fires were started deliberately in the UK causing nearly £60 million worth of damage.  She helps tackle arson by detecting accelerants such as petrol, paraffin and white spirit which are often used to start and accelerate fires. She can sniff out whether fires have been started with accelerants and can speed up often lengthy investigations.

Cracker, who was given her name earlier this year after a public appeal on BBC Northwest Tonight, has a sense of smell 200 times more sensitive than that of a human.

As well as assisting Fire investigators and Police in identifying arson and ensuring that evidence is recovered that can assist prosecution, she is also taken out to schools, open days and other public events to promote the fire safety message.


Echo helps specialist firefighters in the Urban Search and Rescue Team.

In an emergency situation such as when a building collapses, the Urban Search and Rescue Team will be called out to help find anyone who is trapped or injured.

It can often be too dangerous or difficult for firefighters to find a casualty. Echo has a powerful sense of smell which means he can search for and locate a missing person quickly.

Once he has found a person who is injured or trapped, he will bark alerting the rest of the Urban Search and Rescue Team. They can then use cameras and listening devices to find the exact location of the casualty. The highly trained team of firefighters can then carry out the rescue.

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Last update: 24/07/2014 13:12:29
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