Hydrocarbons Detector Dog (Fire Investigation)
"Star" - Europe's First Arson Detector Dog at his Passing Out Parade - Karenswood (International) Ltd
In 1964 Karenswood (International) Ltd began a research programme designed to evaluate the potential of dogs as "Hydrocarbons Detectors". The idea being that dogs so trained could assist fire investigation teams to establish:
* the likely cause of a fire (whether accidental or malicious);
* the means of ignition;
* the accelerant used;
* the precise location of the seat of the fire.
The results achieved were truly phenomenal and Karenswood (International) Ltd trained the world’s first dog for the detection of hydrocarbons in illegal fire settings. Because of the lack of interest in Great Britain at that time, the project was marketed overseas (the majority of British Police Forces were not even using Explosives Detector Dogs until the mid-to-late 1970s). However, due to the unremitting efforts of the West Midlands Fire Service, together with sponsorship from the Eagle Star Insurance Company, it was in 1996 that Karenswood (International) Ltd gave Europe its first Fire Investigation Dog "Star".
Karenswood (International) Ltd originated the Standard Operating Procedures for the British Home Office designed to govern the training and operational deployment of all dogs in the British Fire Service.
In 2006, the Hong Kong Fire Service approached Karenswood (International) Ltd for the provision of Hydrocarbons Detector Dogs and handler instruction. The Chinese Authorities thought so highly of Fire Investigation Dog "Dexter" that he was awarded the "Animals Asia's Dog Devotion Award for Outstanding Service" and was celebrated on a special edition of the national postage stamp.
In 2012, the Hong Kong Fire Service once again commissioned Karenswood (International) Ltd to provide a complement of fully trained Fire Investigation dogs and updated training programmes for staff members of the Hong Kong Fire Service Dog Unit.