We celebrate World Dog Day, a hero who, alongside the rescuers, helps to save the survivors trapped in the rubble.
The dog is not only a life partner and a positive presence for the physical and psychological health of many of us, but it is also a faithful ally in rescue operations after an earthquake.
Rescue dogs: our allies in post-earthquake operations
The rescue dogs, experts in finding survivors after an earthquake, wear the uniform of the various forces employed in the field - from the National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps (Cnsas) to the Forestry Corps, from the Guardia di Finanza to the Civil Protection Units. All of them, since they were puppies, are trained for about two and a half years and then constantly "updated" with exercises at least twice a week.
When do rescue dogs come into action in the event of an earthquake?
The work of the canine units is essential in the first three days after the earthquake to find people or corpses. Three days after the seismic event, their sense of smell becomes less reliable, especially with the onset of decomposition, and its difficulty in identifying odors increases. In the event of an earthquake, the first phase consists of a voice search to understand where any voices of those who have been trapped under the mounds and are still conscious come from. Then rescue dogs come into play, and that's enough recognize human smell to bark and thus signal the presence of someone to human rescuers.
Why are rescue dogs a vital resource in the event of an earthquake?
Dogs are a very important resource in rescue operations. Their ability to balance even on the most uneven surfaces, their physical conformation, their weight andexcellent nose (they can sniff a person up to 4/5 meters underground!) allow them to find the survivors missing under the rubble.
What are earthquake rescue dog breeds?
In the event of an earthquake, the Civil Protection avails itself of the invaluable help of the canine units, made up of dogs of different breeds and mestizos. In fact, more than a question of breed, these are characteristics that the dog must possess, as well as establishing a relationship of understanding with the handler. In fact, earthquake rescue dogs must have an athletic physique (since they must be light when moving on rubble) and, of course, have an excellent sense of smell. Furthermore, the animal must be obedient and particularly receptive: a dominant dog would not be suitable for this kind of operations, in which man's directives must always be followed.