What do you do in your day job?
What attracted you to working with LONSAR?
I am a retired firefighter and ex-army commando soldier. Since leaving the fire service I have been walking dogs to keep me busy.
I was contacted by a friend of mine who is in the Essex SAR team, he described it and thought it would be a good fit for me. At that time I had two qualified fire service search dogs that could be trained for SAR duties, one was Buddy. Buddy and I went on to create the Dog Search unit for LONSAR and we are still working together today.
Jim - Dog Handler Lead
Can you tell us about a search that you took part in that stands out in your memory?
On one of Buddy's first active call-outs we were tasked to search Hampstead Heath Men's Pond. After a short time Buddy swam out and circled an area, I brought him back to the bank set him off from a different location, but he kept going back to the same position. This position was passed to police divers where sadly a drowned missing person (misper) was found.
What’s the most challenging part of being a search technician?
My background of military and fire service make the down sides of the role more bearable. No one wants to find the person we are looking for deceased, but my previous experience has given me the resilience to cope with such situations. I can also offer support to other members of the team in this way. Even though it is never the outcome we all hope for, it can bring earlier closure to the family of the misper, which is also important.
And the best part?
Being out with the dogs and developing and growing our team. I enjoy helping others to learn new skills and we are helping the most vulnerable members of our community at the same time.
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