In a first, NDRF trains 160 dogs for disaster response

New Delhi: In a maiden initiative, a squad of 162 dogs is being raised by the NDRF to aid its personnel in rescuing people trapped under debris in the aftermath of natural calamities like earthquake.

The NDRF, which was involved in disaster rescue operations like the deluge in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Chennai and the earthquake that struck Nepal last year, has undertaken the exercise on a ‘mission mode’.

The force is training a batch of 162 dogs for their specialised Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) tasks under which the NDRF teams have to sift through mounds of rubble to look for life trapped beneath.

A number of them have finished their regime and are being subjected to drills and field exercises where they are made to sniff out life in a collapsed concrete structure.

“We have undertaken an exercise to train special USAR dogs as they are the best companion of a rescuer during such challenges. This is the first time that dogs for disaster response are being trained on such a large scale indigenously.

“These canines are different from the regular police and tracker dogs and have immense capabilities in sniffing life from under the debris,” NDRF Director General O P Singh told PTI.

As the requirements of the National Disaster Response Force in this domain are large, the DG said, the force has taken upon itself to train this special class of dogs, a task being done in India for the first time.

“There have been instances during our operations in the past when dogs proved that they are multiple times better than human rescuers due to their inherent special skills. That is when we decided to train our own dogs and hone their capabilities as part of a comprehensive exercise,” he said.