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Anatomy of an Explosive Search

We are often asked how is a search for explosives done.  What goes into the search? What can your Dogs actually find?

Starside Security’s K-9 Unit performs searches much differently then many if not all of the private Detection K-9 teams.  Our process to complete the search begins at first contact with a client or a prospective client.  First we obviously need to know what needs to be searched, and the reason for the search.  In Addition we need to know the time frame in which we will have to complete the search.

The reason for this need of information is so that we can best successfully complete the search for you.  We need to evaluate how many K-9’s will be needed, if we need any special equipment to complete the search, is this a covert or an overt search.

How does Starside Security conduct searches compared to other private companies?

A typical detection dog service will arrive at your location, ask what needs to be searched, then bring their K-9’s in and search what you request to be searched.  The it is back into the vehicle and away they go.  At Starside Security, our searched begin the minute you contact us. As we will ask a series of questions to assist us in conducting a threat assessment on the search you are requesting.  When the date comes for the actual search, Starside Security will arrive with the correct number of K-9 Teams to conduct the search in a most thorough manner. 

Our handlers will first evaluate the location.  They will search the location by hand utilizing various tools to look for and detect not only explosives but also other dangerous items which may injure the K-9’s and any humans.   By searching by hand prior to utilizing a K-9, Starside Security is able to provide a more in depth search then what is conducted by other private security K-9 Teams.

How big of an area can a K-9 Search, or how long can a K-9 Search before they need a rest?

The area in which a K-9 can search is fully dependant on the environment in which the search is to be conducted, and is relevant to the time in which it takes the K-9 to thoroughly sniff all of the areas in which an explosive can be placed.  In general a K-9 can continuously search for 20 to 40 minutes, with the ambient temperature and the humidity being the biggest factors.  To hot, or to cold, reduces their search time.  It is very important for a handler to be able to recognize when a K-9 is not longer searching but only going through the motions.  Due to the close relationship between K-9 and Handler, the K-9’s will try very hard to please their Explosive Detection Handler.  The K-9’s know the Handlers want them to search so they will act as if they are, to make the Handler happy.  At Starside Security we train hard to be sure we can tell when our Explosive Detection K-9’s need a break.

What can your Explosive Detection K-9’s actually find?  Humans? Drugs? ?????

Starside Security’s Explosive Detection K-9’s are what is referred to as a Single Purpose K-9. They have one purpose and that is to detect explosives.  Nothing else.  This is done for a number of reasons.  The biggest reason is safety.  Any K-9 which is able to detect drugs and explosives is a major safety problem.  There is no way to tell if the K-9 has detected a Drug or an Explosive.  If the handler were to think the K-9 detected drugs, when in fact it was an explosive, the handler could set the explosive off, when they were to open a package, or some other compartment. 

As far as explosives are concerned,. Our Explosive Detection K-9 teams are able to detect 13 specific explosives.  These explosives include both Commercial and Military grade explosives.  We do not list the actual explosives due to security reasons.  We do not wish the bad guys to know what we can locate. 

Starside Security Explosive Detection K-9’s in addition to Explosives also have the ability to detect Firearms.  This additional detection ability is due to the K-9 having the ability to detect gun powder.  And of course they are great at detecting food, so be careful where you leave your lunch or snack when our wonderful hardworking K-9’s are in the area. 

How do you know if the Explosive Detection Team has located an Explosive?

Starside Security’s explosive Detection K-9’s alert their handlers with what is referred to as a passive alert.  What this means is the K-9 alerts the handler of the presence of an explosive by a means other then aggressively scratching at, or biting at what contains the explosive. Again for safety reason the last thing you want is a K-9 which will touch a item which is thought to contain explosives.

Please Mr. Coventry, CPP for more information at Starside's Corporate Office (909) 396-9999

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