HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Fire Rescue is hosting the final re-certification training for dozens of arson dogs this week.
It is part of yearly training for the State Farm Arson Dog Program and includes indoor and outdoor tests. Drops of gasoline and diesel fuel are scattered throughout a burn building full of debris and burn marks. The dogs have to sniff out the scene to find the accelerators.
"It is called a passive alert. So when the dog is going through the fire scene, smells something, will sit and put their nose down to indicate something is there," shared Heather Paul, the State Farm Arson Dog Program Coordinator.
Paul explained the dogs know they are working as soon as the handler puts on a food bag.
"These dogs never eat out of a bowl. They only eat out of the hand of their trainer," said Paul.
Since 1993, State Farm has provided funding for the acquisition and training of nearly 350 accelerant detection canine teams across North America.
Handlers with fire departments use the dogs to cut down on time and money spent at the scene of a fire.