Our dogs and their handlers maintain a 24/7 response so they are ready to deploy to incidents that require the use of their specialist skills, not only within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight but throughout the UK to any major incident. They are selected at a young age and specially chosen for their high search drive. All our dogs are well cared for and live with their respective handlers who, along with the fire service, are responsible for their welfare and needs. The dogs provide almost 10 years of service and once trained attend annual training refresher courses to ensure they are not barking up the wrong tree!
Harley is a nine-year-old black labrador retriever and along with his handler, Graham Howlett, forms part of HIWFRS Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team based at Eastleigh Fire Station.
Harley’s first three years of his fire service career were spent undergoing an intense training programme learning how to detect live human scent from missing people (unconscious casualties) following major incidents such as fires, building collapses, landslides and gas explosions.
Graham and Harley also volunteer to form part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) teams, called on to respond to natural disasters throughout the world at 24 hours notice.