Firefighter Training, Leadership

SDF Search Teams from Texas Task Force 2 Deployed

Early this morning, Mike Hargrove and Hayden searched the ground floor of a severely damaged apartment building while Keri Grant and Tucker cleared over two dozen homes. Mike and Hayden searched several houses as well. Neither dog alerted but they remained vigilant and focused during the search period.  – Jeff Culver, Task Force 2 Canine Coordinator     

The teams received the call Wednesday night from their Task Force and were deployed around 11:00pm local time. Their job: to search buildings destroyed or damaged by the explosion and find people trapped in the wreckage. Right now the teams are taking refuge from a severe weather front passing through the region. 

SDF has four Search Teams based in Dallas. Two new Texas teams are being formed this year–the handlers will be arriving next week at the new National Training Center site in California  to work with veteran Search Dogs. They will be partnered with their own Search Dogs this summer. 

Keri & Tucker and Mike & Hayden are now safe at home in Dallas after an all-night search following the deadly explosion in West, Texas (near Waco). We’re very proud of our teams who faced serious challenges during this deployment as they made their way through dangerous debris and thick smoke to find survivors. In the end they were able to declare the area “clear” so rescue teams could move on to areas where they were needed most.

We never know where the next disaster will happen and we are deeply grateful to our donors for providing the means to train and support these teams who risk their lives to save others. Sincerest thanks also to Texas Task Force 2, Dallas Fire-Rescue, and McKinney Fire Department for their work in response to the disaster and their steadfast support of the Search Teams.

Keri Grant:

“This was our very first deployment. Tucker searched 50 homes in a very short amount of time while Hayden searched the first floor of an entire apartment complex. Neither dog wanted to stop searching, not even to stop to drink. Tucker and Hayden did not give up nor did they sustain a single injury, not even a scrape. Mike and I felt incredibly useful – these dogs are amazing little searching machines!”

Mike Hargrove:

“When we arrived, the fire was still smoldering at the plant and part of the middle school was still burning. There were large chunks of iron and other shrapnel, rocks and dirt clods everywhere. There was so much smoke and the wind made the search even more challenging. We weren’t able to gain access to some of the areas the dogs went into, but we gave them the “go through” command and they just took off to do their job.   

“Hayden searched a little differently than he does in training – he was a little more methodical, as if he knew this was a real deployment with real lives hanging in the balance. Being there at a real deployment certainly gave us a whole new perspective on trusting our dogs and the importance of the work we do. Hayden and Tucker never wavered during the deployment-they had so much energy! Keri and I could not be prouder of these dogs and the strong work they did early this morning. Please let everyone know how thankful we are for their support and know that we are ready for the next disaster!”