Rescue Dogs from Across the Nation Participate in Certification Exercise at Aggregate Industries US Facility in Littleton, MA

Jun 05, 2012, 09:15 ET from Aggregate Industries US

LITTLETON, Mass., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aggregate Industries (AIUS), a member of the Holcim Group, and Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team (MA-TF 1 US&R), one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces throughout the country, are hosting what is known as a FEMA Canine Certification. The event will be held on June 9 and 10, 2012, at the Aggregate Industries K-9 Testing Facility in Littleton, Massachusetts. Rescue dogs and their handlers will undergo rigorous testing, including a search for volunteer human "survivors" under piles of rubble.

"We're pleased and excited that Massachusetts Task Force 1 has selected Aggregate Industries to host the certification for the second time," said Bernard Terver, president and chief executive officer of Aggregate Industries US. "FEMA, MA-TF 1, and the rescue dogs do an incredible job and perform an indispensable service to both our nation and the world. We're thrilled to support FEMA's crucial work and look forward to the event."

AIUS built the Littleton K-9 Testing Facility in 2010 when the company first hosted the event. The course includes specially designed rubble piles to replicate situations where dogs must locate buried survivors. A realistic course like the one at AIUS is crucial to prepare the teams for emergencies where recovery is often a matter of life and death.

"To be able to focus in the chaotic environment of a disaster-site, urban search and rescue dogs need to be comfortable working on rubble piles of collapsed buildings," explained Anita Arnum, assistant program manager, Massachusetts Task Force 1. "This can only be achieved by training and testing exercises like the one in Littleton. We greatly appreciate the company's contribution and ongoing support and thank them for providing us with realistic training conditions."

Rescue dogs and their handler teams must be re-certified every three years. The certification includes command control, agility tests, barking alert skills, and willingness to overcome fears of tunnels and wobbly surfaces under the guidance of the handler. This year's canine graduation candidates are:

  • Kari, golden retriever, handler Chris Bergquist, handler team CA-TF7 
  • Nino, Labrador retriever, handler Jim Boggeri, handler team CA-TF4 
  • Phoenix, Labrador retriever, handler Eliodora Chamberlain, handler team MO-TF1 
  • Lago, German shepherd, handler Tim Dingess, handler team VA-TF1 
  • Tanker, Labrador retriever, handler Gary Durian, handler team CA-TF2 
  • Journey, black Labrador retriever, handler Michael Gross, handler team CA-TF1 
  • Liberty, black Labrador retriever, handler Amos Hess, handler team PA-TF1 
  • Jakers, black Labrador retriever, handler Jeff Ivy, handler team CA-TF7 
  • Scout, Belgian malinois, handler James McHenry, handler team PA-TF1 
  • Xio Haq, Belgian malinois, handler Janet Merrill, handler team MA-TF1 
  • Xane, German shepherd, handler Karen Nesbitt, handler team MA-TF1 
  • Rowdy, collie mix, handler David Stoddard, handler team CA-TF7 
  • Hank, yellow Labrador retriever, handler Christopher Sutton, handler team CO-TF1, and 
  • Tesla, black Labrador retriever, handler Tai Trinh, handler team CA-TF1 
  • Paver Labrador retriever, handler Travis Chapman, handler team CO-TF1
  • Faith, boarder collie, handler Adoree Donovan, handler team PA-TF1
  • Freitag, German shepherd, handler Tom Haus, handler team CA-TF1
  • Phizer, Labrador retriever, handler Maureen May, handler team OH-TF1
  • Chloe, Labrador retriever, handler Melissa Newman, handler team OH-TF1
  • Mason, Labrador retriever, handler Joshua Kurland, handler team MD-TF1       
  • Raider, collie/Labrador mix, handler Sara Rathbun, handler team CA-TF2
  • Ty, Labrador retriever, handler Dennis DiMarzio, handler team CA-TF2
  • Chili, Labrador retriever handler Sharon Gattas, handler team CA-TF6
  • Banner, Labrador retriever, handler Jessica Stone, handler team CA-TF6

About Aggregate Industries US
Aggregate Industries US is a leading provider of aggregate and construction materials to markets in 16 states and more than 300 cities.

About Massachusetts Task Force 1
Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA-TF 1) Urban Search and Rescue Team (US&R) is located and sponsored by the city of Beverly, Massachusetts. Urban Search and Rescue teams are comprised of Police, Fire, EMS and Civilians (80 total people when deployed) and respond to major disasters under a Cooperative Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Currently there are 220 people on the MA-TF 1 team.

About FEMA
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Urban search-and-rescue (US&R) involves the location, rescue (extrication), and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. Structural collapse is most often the cause of victims being trapped, but victims may also be trapped in transportation accidents, mines and collapsed trenches.

Urban search-and-rescue is considered a "multi-hazard" discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases. The events may be slow in developing, as in the case of hurricanes, or sudden, as in the case of earthquakes.


Robin L. DeCarlo


SOURCE Aggregate Industries US