National Arson Awareness Week May 6-12, 2018

Facts about accelerant detection canines

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Accelerant detection canines (ADC) are motivated, accelerant detection tools. An ADC:

  • Transforms from a loving pet to an arson detection tool as soon as the handler puts on the food/reward pouch.
  • Has a sense of smell that is 100,000 times more acute than a human’s.
  • Knows how to work a crowd. At a fire scene, the dog is encouraged to mingle with spectators and give them a good sniff. If the arsonist is in the crowd watching, the ADC will alert to the smell of the accelerant on his or her clothes, shoes or body.
  • Is unbiased. The dog just sticks to the truth. If there’s an accelerant present, it alerts – simply communicating that something is there (or not there), without any personal bias, prejudice or judgment.

ADCs save time and money. An ADC:

  • Is fast, covering an entire scene in less than 30 minutes. It can take humans days to do what a dog does in minutes.
  • Is accurate. At best, humans can make educated guesses about possible accelerant use and will need to collect an average of 20 samples to send off to a lab for testing. With an ADC, its nose narrows down the guess work, and it winds up taking three samples on average. Higher quality lab samples speed up investigations and result in a higher conviction rate.
  • Helps to rule out arson, allowing a case to close or the insurance claim process to move forward more quickly.

ADCs are valued community members. An ADC:

  • Works and lives with its handler, a law enforcement officer or firefighter trained to investigate fire scenes.
  • Closes more cases and acts as a deterrent resulting in a reduction of the arson problem.
  • Is an excellent addition to any community’s fire prevention and education program. In addition to averaging 90 fires a year, in their off hours, ADC teams head out into their communities to teach fire safety and prevention to kids and adults.
Fresca, an accelerant detection canine

An accelerant detection canine sniffing for ignitable accelerants at a fire scene.