Diesel and Gary to the rescue: Dedicated SFRS dog handler honoured this weekend

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Rescue dog Diesel's dedicated handler Gary Carroll is being recognised as part of World Humanitarian Day on Saturday, August 19

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An SFRS instructor is being recognised as part of World Humanitarian Day this Saturday, August 19, for his role within the Scottish arm of UK International Search and Rescue (ISAR).

Gary Carroll - who is also a dog handler - is a team leader with UK ISAR which also includes 12 other humanitarian workers from SFRS. His role has seen him deployed around the world as part of rescue efforts, most notably after the Nepal earthquake in 2015, which also saw a number of other fire service employees provide support.

Along with his search dog Diesel, who has just turned eight, Gary has also provided assistance in Christchurch, New Zealand after an earthquake in 2011, as well as in Sumatra, Indonesia, following an earthquake there in 2009.

Both of them regularly train together in disaster scenarios to help maintain their skills.

The 47-year-old, who lives in Torphins, Aberdeenshire, explains what a ‘typical’ day is like for him…

Where are you from? “I’m originally from East Kilbride but home is now Torphins in Aberdeenshire.”
 
What do you do? “On any typical day I could be teaching anything from breathing apparatus to Urban Search and Rescue. Being part of the ISAR team enables me and my search dog to provide assistance to those searching for relatives or those declared missing. It is important that I maintain my skills and that of the dogs in urban search and rescue, so we are continually training in disaster scenarios at our training centre. This allows us to be ready to respond to any request for help at a moment’s notice.
 
“It’s moments like when I was able to deploy with my search dog Diesel following the earthquake in Nepal and put into practice all his training by using him for searching collapsed structures.  It was good to see him in action for the purpose that he was trained for.”
 
What’s the biggest challenge? “The biggest challenge I face is ensuring my skills are at the highest level and keeping up-to-date with any new techniques, procedures and equipment used in search and rescue. When deployed to a natural disaster it is harrowing to see the effects, but at the same time it is very satisfying being able to provide help, aid and assistance to those who need it most.”
 
What do you miss most about home? “While away from home I miss my family the most.”
 
What do your family think about your job? “My family are very proud of the job that I do but they do worry when I’m away assisting following a natural disaster.”
 
What is your most vivid memory? Following the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2011 Garry recalls the reception they received from the public: “We were applauded entering New Zealand by members of the public on our way to assist following the earthquake. After assisting for two weeks we were then given a thank you ceremony by the local Maori population at a service called a ‘Hangi’.”
 
What is the one thing you would want people to know about your work? “The one thing that is important to let people know is that we go through extensive training and are committed to giving assistance when asked and called upon. We provide the highest level of search and rescue capability and humanitarian aid and will always do our best to help.”
 

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