The Calgary Fire Departments’ investigation dog Honey, has a new teammate in the Accelerant Detection Canine Program, an American black Labrador named Gibbs.
Today, the Calgary Fire Department (CFD) officially welcomed Gibbs to the Fire Investigation Team. Gibbs, who is 21 months old, completed accelerant detection training this summer and joined CFD this fall with handler and Fire Investigator Tony Bund.
“Our first accelerant detection dog, Honey, has been a great asset to our Fire Investigations Team for more than a year. So we knew that bringing in another dog would only improve our ability to investigate fires more effectively and efficiently,” says Calgary Fire Chief Bruce Burrell. “And because they are so friendly, they are also wonderful ambassadors for the Calgary Fire Department.”
The Accelerant Detection Canine Program began when CFD acquired Honey, also a black Labrador, in May 2012. Since joining the department, Honey and her handler Fire Investigator Brad McDonald attended more than 110 fires. Gibbs, with handler Tony, attended just over 10 fires so far. And out of the more than 120 fires they investigated, the dogs had 96 accelerant hits.
To officially recognize these incredible canines as CFD members, both working dogs will receive their CFD badges during graduation ceremonies on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
“The scope of fire or arson goes beyond impacting insurance companies; it affects the personal and financial wellbeing of us all. Training dogs like Gibbs to detect accelerants at a fire scene saves time and money in fire investigations and can help take criminals off our streets,” says John Bordignon, Media Relations for State Farm Canada.
Training for Gibbs and Honey was funded by State Farm Insurance and is available to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across North America. Since 1993, the program has placed more than 325 dogs in 44 states and three provinces.
Honey, and now Gibbs, live and work with their handlers Brad and Tony year-round. The two certified dogs’ health and welfare needs are provided by support from Encana and The City of Calgary’s Animal & Bylaw Services.
"Given that we work in an ever-changing and dynamic industry, safety is a core value for Encana and one of the major pillars of our community investment program," says Scott Springman of Encana’s Community Involvement team. "Health and safety are priorities in both our operations and in the communities where our staff live and work. We are proud supporters of Honey and now Gibbs, as the important work of these accelerant detection dogs helps to keep the Calgary community and its residents safe.”
Encana’s support includes a natural gas powered truck and its fuel to provide transportation for Honey and Gibbs. Thanks to Animal & Bylaw Services, Gibbs, just like Honey, has been microchipped and licensed in accordance with The City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw.
In addition to their work with the CFD Fire Investigations Team, Honey and Gibbs visit community groups and attend public events to help encourage fire prevention and safety.
For more information on the Calgary Fire Department Accelerant Detection Canine Program, please visit www.calgary.ca/fire.
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