Rescue Dogs from North and South America Participate in Certification Exercise at Aggregate Industries US Facility in Littleton, MA

Aug 14, 2013, 16:56 ET from Aggregate Industries US

LITTLETON, Mass., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Aggregate Industries (AIUS), a member of the Holcim Group, and the International Rescue Dog Organization (IRO), based in Salzburg, Austria, are hosting an International Search and Rescue Testing at the Aggregate Industries K-9 Testing Facility in Littleton, MA, on August 16, 2013. 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 the International Rescue Dog Organization has selected Aggregate Industries to host this certification," said Filiberto Ruiz, president and chief executive officer of Aggregate Industries US. "The International Rescue Dog Organization 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 the IRO's crucial work and look forward to the event."

AIUS built the Littleton K-9 Testing Facility in 2010 when the company first hosted a similar event with the Massachusetts Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team (MA-TF 1 US&R). 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, search and rescue dogs need to be comfortable working on rubble piles of collapsed buildings," said Debora Ash, Operational Leader for Canine Alert Search Teams, which is hosting the overall event. "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."

This will be the IRO's first official search and rescue dog testing held in the United States. The dogs will be tested in three different search disciplines- rubble, area search and tracking and will be judged by Mr. Walter Hoffmann of Germany and Mr. Kurt Schafar of Austria. The IRO consists of search and rescue teams from across the globe deployed by the United Nations in times of major disasters. Participants for this specific testing are from Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois and Bogata, Colombia, South America.

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 International Rescue Dog Organization
The International Rescue Dog Organization (IRO) is the worldwide representation for 116 national rescue dog organizations from 39 countries providing dog-owner training or emergency disaster training for highly specialized deployment task teams.

Robin L. DeCarlo

SOURCE Aggregate Industries US