'Dogcam' to the rescue!

'Dogcam' to the rescue!

Search dogs try out new camera system to find disaster victims

Rescue dogs are being trained to find survivors in disaster zones using the latest wireless gadget - a "dogcam".

The portable all-terrain wireless system (Paws - geddit?!) has a video camera and a harness. It is attached to the rescue dog's head and sends video footage of what the dog can see to its human colleagues.

Dogs can get to places that humans can't, because they are smaller, lighter and can move around more safely. The new dogcam could be used to help find survivors in collapsed buildings after earthquakes, tsunamis, or fires.

The system is being tried out by a fire and rescue service in England that sends teams around the world, including last year's earthquake in New Zealand and tsunami in Japan.

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Dogs are already used in rescue teams, but DogCam will make them even more useful

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has three dogs that have been trained in rescue techniques since they were puppies. It took two years to train Byron, Barnie and Digga to detect the scent of a survivor trapped under rubble. They have to practise constantly because this is such a specialised skill.

A good search dog team can find victims when even the most advanced electronic devices cannot. Experts hope the Paws device will be a breakthrough in rescue techniques and will help them to find even more survivors in the future.

Adapted from an article on The Daily What.

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