The Shreveport Fire Department Canine Search and Rescue Task Force was formed under the direction of Captain Kerry W. Foster in 1999. The team became operational with 5 dog teams soon after in 2000.
After applying for and receiving a grant to start a canine team, it was decided that by using the present “Search and Rescue Task Force” verbiage, the fire department and team could apply this to other technical search and rescue specialties for future needs and growth. This concept has now been implemented to include such Shreveport Fire Department resources as “Hazardous Materials Response Team,” “Water Rescue Team,” and other technical teams.
Members of the team donated their free time and expertise to bring to the community and the department a quality group of handlers and dogs that meet a variety of needs.
The team currently operates under three disciplines:
Human Remains Detection (HRD)
Commonly called cadaver work, Human Remains Detection (HRD) consists of searching for and locating decaying human remains, bones, and tissues. The team assists law enforcement agencies with the search and detection of human remains. One of our dogs has worked with groups in historical detection, assisting agencies with historical grave sites, battle fields, and other areas where aged human remains might be resting. The team currently has 3 dogs trained in HRD.
There are 2 dogs that are dedicated to the detection of live persons only. Their skills are the backbone of the team, which is disaster response. Whether it is a collapsed building or a horrific storm, these dogs will search and locate only those persons, any persons, that are still alive. They also serve the team in wilderness searches where many acres of land might need to be covered.
There are 3 bloodhounds that make up our Trailing discipline. These dogs are capable of taking an article of clothing or something with a victim’s scent on it and following the path the victim took, step by step. They primarily respond to find the child that has wandered away, or the elderly person who has wandered off and cannot be found. Trained in the urban environment, these dogs are capable of following the path of these individuals, step by step, through busy city streets, crowds, and traffic that comes with such an environment. This discipline is different from Air Scenting in the fact that our bloodhounds are trained to only follow the scent in which they are given.
Since early 2000, the team has worked thousands of events in East Texas, North and South Louisiana, South Arkansas, and Charleston, SC. Our team trains regularly in the community. Whether it’s at festivals, walking the downtown streets, or even visiting the schools, this team has to expose the dogs to busy and loud environments so when the time comes for the dogs to perform their duties they will not be afraid of such things as traffic, loud noises, and multiple things happening around them. They are not allowed any aggression, and are trained to be very calm and gentle.
For more information on our team, to request a K9 appearance at your next event, or specific questions, please use our contact form.