(CNN) — Search and rescue work continues on the building that partially collapsed early Thursday in Miami. In the place, a series of tools and procedures have been used to find possible survivors or search for their bodies, such as rescue dogs in the area of the collapse. What are the workings of these dogs in disasters like the one currently living in Miami?
1. Rapid delimitation of areas in collapse such as the building in Miami
Fernando Álvarez, member of Rescue Brigade Topos Tlatelolco AC, from Mexico, highlighted the importance of using dogs in this type of rescue.
“Dogs give us more speed, they are not very precise, but they give us a zone very quickly. They delimit, for example, two square meters, and there you can put a camera to see where the victims are, ”said Álvarez.
2. Rule out odors
César Aguirre, a search and rescue dog instructor, pointed out that rescue dogs must carry out their work in “quiet” areas in terms of odors. This means that there should be no odors of chemicals or gases, in order to be able to identify people trapped in structures that collapsed.
«One has to try as a rescuer to go to a relatively quiet area in the area of smells, that there are not many gases or explosions. In the case of the collapse, the dog will look for the odors that the body produces in the respiratory systems, “Aguirre said in an interview with CNN.
3. Operant conditioning
The search and rescue dog instructor added that the dog is trained in a way called “operant conditioning,” which in short is doing work for a prize.
“Every time the dog tries to smell, to associate, in operant conditioning, that there is an odor — it could be hydrogen, methane, ethane — he will bark, he will call (…). Then you try to make a triangulation at different points where the dog barks again, ”Aguirre explained.
4. “The first link”
So far, it is clear that the rescue dog helps to delineate spaces where there could be people in collapsed structures. But something that should be clear is the importance of rescue dogs should be first in the search line.
«The part that has the machinery is triangulated, those that are going to lift (rubble); the dog you are tracking; try to hear if that person is making a sound. Remember that they (the dogs) are the first link at the moment of action, they are the first that should be in the area because you are looking for life, ”Aguirre explained.
5. Emotional containment
In addition to work on structures like the one on the Surfside collapse, the dogs can also be trained to provide emotional support to the victims’ families.
One of the dogs that has had this work of emotional support to the families of the victims in Surfside is Saxon, of the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism