Salina’s fire K9 is only one of two dogs of its kind in the country

Local

It’s always a busy day at the Salina Fire Department.

“We have 95 uniforms,” Fire Marshal Troy Long said.

But there’s one firefighter who doesn’t wear the typical uniform.

“He has very high drive and just always wants to work,” Long said. “He’s amazing.”

A guy everyone relies on.

Aww good boy,” Long said.

And he has four feet.

“So Hoke is a three-year-old Labrador retriever,” he said. “He’s named after a dog who searched the Twin Towers in 9/11.”

As of this month, Hoke is one of two working K9’s in the country to be dual certified in accelerant detection.

“If somebody creates an arson fire and uses an accelerant to do that, he can go in and locate the accelerant,” Long said. “He’s trained to detect 0.5 micro liters of any accelerant.”

And also in search in rescue.

“If we have an elevator collapse or a tornado, he can also go out and help us find people that are alive and trapped inside,” he said.

Hoke demonstrated his skills to KSN Thursday afternoon at Crisis City, a training ground.

He had no problem finding Fire Inspector Joe Kvacik who was hiding deep in a pipe.

“It takes him only seconds to locate victims,” he said.  “The speed in which he does it, would take just a technical rescue team maybe hours to find somebody.”

Long said he and Hoke will be training for the next couple of weeks to pass the FEMA test in April, it’s part two of the search and rescue.

Hoke will need to find up to six victims in two different piles of rubble under 20 minutes each.

“I think he’ll do just fine,” Long said.

He said it takes a special dog to do these two skills, and he’s lucky to have him part of the department.

“Good boy, Hoke,” he said. “That’s a good boy!”

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