Paul Robinson is an Openreach engineer based in Staffordshire with 45 years’ service. In his spare time, Paul volunteers for NSARDA, the National Search and Rescue Dogs Association, who support the major emergency services to find missing persons.
Paul said: "I’ve always been interested in training dogs for obedience, agility, working trials and pets. Being fascinated by their ability to track and follow scents, and having read about Search and Rescue work (SAR), I took an opportunity to contact my local group at an Emergency Services open day”.
Paul undertook his initial induction and hasn’t looked back since. He’s now out every other weekend and sometimes mid-week, training with the Staffordshire branch of NSARDA.
Search dogs are trained to a very high standard, a process taking 2-3 years for full qualification. The dogs then require frequent search activities to keep them on top form, and they never know where or when they will be called upon. Paul’s role in the training is to be an injured/dead body for the dogs to search and find - a dog’s body - so he plays a serious game of hide and seek.
NSARDA is not just about searching with dogs. Once the person is found, trained teams deal with first aid to a full evacuation of the injured party. The Staffs group are called out an average of 40 times per year.
Paul added: "As a voluntary organisation, we have to fundraise in order to operate. If you cannot actively search, you can become a friend of the association.”
For more details of Staffordshire Lowland rescue, visit http://www.staffordshirelowlandrescue.org/