It’s National Arson Awareness Week and accelerant detecting dogs are being honored for the work that they have done over the years.
Arson detection dog have a nose up on their human handlers. Human have six million olfactory receptors and dogs have over 300 olfactory receptors. This means that a dog’s sense of smell is tens of thousands times more sensitive than humans. This is perfect for being able to train them to seek out specific scents.
According to Alexandra Horowitz, the author of, “Inside of a Dog,” a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar in millions of gallons of water. This means that in a fire investigation, a dog’s nose can greatly decrease the time spent on detecting accelerants. On average it takes one of these dogs about 30 minutes to search an entire fire scene.
William McGovern with Fire Prevention and Control described the training program as an 8-week program. It takes place in Montrose , N.Y. ” During that eight weeks, the dogs identify those liquids but also in different environmental conditionings such as going up in a helicopter, riding in a boat and then conducted searches afterwards,” said McGovern.
This week, around the country, fire agencies are showing off the skills of their accelerant detection dogs in order to raise awareness and make sure the public continues to look out for suspicious activity.
You can read more about these dogs by visiting the Arson Dog Program website.