Several rescue crews, including the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue took to the water at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor today to practice water rescues and recoveries involving K-9 units.
Officials say this is key in making sure everyone is prepared for an emergency before they’re actually dealing with one.
“Some [boats] have bows that keep the dog five or six feet off the water, some have bows that the dogs can get six inches above the water,” said Chief of Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Len Pratt. “Each dog reacts differently to that and the objective is to get the dog comfortable with as many different boat designs as possible and acclimated so when they’re called for the real thing they’re comfortable.”
Organizers tell News 4 they planned this event after water rescues and recoveries became necessary in several high profile situations, including when Buffalo Lt. Craig Lehner’s body was recovered from the Niagara River.
“We did use scent dogs on Craig Lehner’s recovery, and they were very helpful,” said Chief of Operations for Hamburg Water Rescue, Ron Klimowicz. “And we had talked about it afterwards on planning on doing this, and then we used the scent dogs on a couple of different calls…We just kind of kept working and saying we should really start training together for the betterment of the community.”