Norman Fire Department to Receive Highly-Trained Search and Rescue K9

Date of Press Release: 
Wed, 01/11/2017
Press Release By: 
Sarah Jensen

The Norman Fire Department is becoming host to a State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance (SUSAR) Certified Disaster Search K9. Provided through the Ground Zero K9 Emergency Training Center, started by Barry and Becky Switzer, this canine will provide an additional resource to the department and can be deployed on a wide variety of emergency calls such as tornados, earthquakes, train derailments, large building searches, building explosions, plane crashes, flood wreckage, major vehicle collisions, and other emergencies that could occur in Norman.

“We are proud to be only the second department in central Oklahoma to host a search and rescue canine,” said Norman Fire Chief Travis King. “The canine will be invaluable to us and our ability to serve the community on a myriad of emergency calls that require navigating unstable and dangerous surfaces in quickly locating and rescuing people trapped in the wreckage of disaster.”

The department and its handler, Norman Firefighter Justin Lechman, will receive the Labrador, named Quip, at a ceremony at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on January 12.

“The Norman Fire Department has this incredible opportunity to host this search and rescue canine in our department as a direct result of the commitment of the citizens of Norman, the fire department’s extensive rescue training, and the training and preparation of the handler,” said Chief King. “We are grateful to the Ground Zero K9 Foundation for providing the dog, who as part of the K9/handler team, has passed a rigorous national certification.”

Quip was purchased by the Ground Zero K9 Foundation from Auburn University as a puppy. The university breeds canines, like Quip, for specific jobs allowing them to have a remarkable sense of smell, unparalleled ability to quickly and safely navigate unstable and slippery terrain and to get to places humans cannot safely access to search for live victims.