Boksburg crew commander Ekurhuleni’s first K9 Search and Rescue handler
Leon Ferreira Fire Station crew commander Tony Stacey recently became Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services’ (DEMS) first K9 Search and Rescue dog handler. The 47-year-old Impala Park resident, who started his career at Leon Ferreira Fire Station in 1990 as a volunteer firefighter, explained he qualified on 11 February 2022. According to him, it is a great privilege to represent Ekurhuleni and Urban Search and Rescue South Africa. “It’s an amazing feeling to finally have achieved a goal like this; something I have wanted for many years. “Having a passion for animals, I always wanted to be part of the K9 Search and Rescue Group, which is a function always performed by the South African Police K9 Search and Rescue Services with whom we work closely on many rescue calls. I always had a passion for the fire and rescue side of the job and started to focus on rescue in specific, participating in national rescue competitions.”
Stacey added, “This includes vehicle extrication and high-angle rope rescue. I finally worked my way through urban search and rescue qualifications to become a rescue technician and a squad leader for the Urban Search and Rescue South Africa Team. Being part of Urban Search and Rescue South Africa means we are classified as a medium rescue team, which was classified and certified in 2017 for national and international responses.”
“The team is doing reclassification as a heavy rescue team, which entails the need for K9 handlers. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the course along with four other members of the team, coming from Johannesburg, Tshwane and Midvaal metros and Gauteng Provincial Government medical unit,” said Stacey.
The crew commander explained to qualify, he had to complete an intense 12-week course that was presented by Genesis K9 Group outside Cullinan.
Stacey explained with his new qualification, DEMS will be able to be more efficient in detecting victims involved in a disaster or emergency. “We will still work closely with the SAPS K9 Search and Rescue teams as we have a very good relationship with them. I don’t have a search and rescue service dog, as the dogs will have to be procured through Gauteng Province for the rescue team and undergo training in the detection of humans in rescue and recovery situations. We do have access to dogs from Genesis K9 Group if the need arises.”
He thanked DEMS, USAR-SA, Gauteng Provincial Government, his family and Genesis K9 Group for the brilliant and exceptional training facilities and facilitators.
DEMS spokesperson William Ntladi said DEMS is proud of Stacey’s achievement.
Source: The Boksburg Advertiser