To start the new year, East Markham WI welcomed Dave Coss and his dog Dexter, a lovely friendly cocker spaniel. Dave is the Fire Dog Handler for all of the East Midlands’ Fire Services — Dexter is one of only 16 fire dogs in the country. Fire dogs are used to trace all possible accelerants which can be used to start fires, this means that they have to be able to identify a wide range of substances. Also, they must be able to distinguish, between materials, which have a ‘petroleum base’, such as plastics, polystyrene and man-made fibres and accelerants. There is a big difference between a burnt plastic and a burnt plastic which has traces of accelerant on it, and this can be crucial in criminal investigations into fires.
Members heard about the training and testing of Fire Dogs as well as the work they are asked to do. During Dave’s talk, Dexter sat quietly on his lead, he was then taken out of the room, whilst Dave placed a minute drop of methylated spirits on the top rail of a chair. Dexter was brought back in and put into harness, when in harness Dexter knows he is working and stands awaiting instructions. Dave let him off the lead and he ran around the room, homing in on the chair on which he stood at and motioned at the top rail. He was rewarded by his tennis ball, which he chased around the room, as well as investigating the table of raffle prizes. This was a most enjoyable and informative talk and after questions, Marjorie gave an amusing vote of thanks to Dexter and his chauffer.
March 2019 will see the group celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of East Markham WI with a party at their meeting on Tuesday 19th. Members and guests from the River group WIs will enjoy a meal and be entertained by Christine Robinson, who will give her personal view on life at Chatsworth House where she was a former housekeeper.
New members and visitors are always welcome, they meet at East Markham Village Hall, starting at 7.15pm. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.