While your average firefighter might not have bright eyes and a busy tail, in the Mexican state of Ecatepec, one four-legged friend has been a hit on the force.
Meet five-year-old Dinky, a loveable border collie who is the department’s latest addition, part of an ongoing fire safety program in schools and preschools.
Dinky is trained to react in a fire, looking for the exit and dodging obstacles, rolling on the floor if he is attacked by flames and lying face down if there is too much smoke.
The children learn how to react in dangerous situations, through a mixture of imitation, songs and hands-on activities.
“The animal factor acts as reinforcement during the training we are providing the children with, we use the Pávloviano system –Iván Pávlov-, which uses a stimulus to generate a response, enabling risks to be identified,” Armando Romero from the Ecatepec canine unit told El sol de Mexico.
While it’s no easy task training a dog, Romero dedicates a large part of his day using fireworks, wax and even matches to get Dinky’s nose used to smells he might encounter in a fire.
The group has participated in 15 fire and rescue missions to date, helping other states and in the capital, Mexico City.
Mexico’s accident prevention culture really came into play after a devastating earthquake wreaked havoc across the country in 1985. Ecatepec is one of the few states lucky enough to have a canine training unit.