Fire dog joins fire service investigation team

Giddy’, an 11-month-old Working Cocker Spaniel, has joined West Midlands Fire Service Investigation and Prevention Section after successfully completing her training.

The new recruit will now be deployed into fire scenes to sniff out signs of accelerants that have been used to start a blaze deliberately.

Giddy’s training course was based on positive reinforcement. She is rewarded with a ball and some play each time she identifies a possible ‘hit’. The programme included several specialist exercises which replicated the real-life scenes she will explore.

Watch Commander Alex Daw, one of the fire investigators, has become Giddy’s handler - and he completed the same six-week training, alongside his four-pawed sidekick. Giddy will live with Alex and his family. Alex said:

"Giddy will identify evidence at fire scenes. She will help to bring to justice criminals who deliberately start fires.

“She has an amazing temperament - so relaxed and docile. Although our children have now grown up, we’re all really excited to have her at home!

“She started out as a working dog, so a priority will be teaching her how to be a pet when she’s off duty.”

Alex's specialist training and Giddy’s canine protective kit will ensure she stays safe. Special boots will protect her paws from glass and other sharp objects when she is working.

Regional Fire Investigation Dog Handler, Dave Coss, of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, oversaw the duo’s training. Dave said:

“It was a learning curve from start to finish for both Giddy and Alex. They’ve done a lot of work to get to this point. Now, a bit like after passing your driving test, they’ll continue to learn whilst they’re out in the field.”

Giddy is the latest in a line of fire dogs to join West Midlands Fire Service. Station Commander Matt Ling, who heads our Fire Investigation and Prevention Section, added:

“Kai served our communities amazingly and is very much missed, but Giddy is already showing that she’ll be a valuable member of the team.

“Working alongside our expert human fire investigators, she will help to make sense of what can often be very challenging and complex scenes.”


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