Last Monday, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue formally inducted their newest member to the firehouse – a four-legged darling – Labrador Retriever, Rit.
Rit, a FEMA-certified 3-year-old yellow Lab, was welcomed by Firehouse57 team and was given his badge. Other dogs were part of the welcoming party.
“It’s a very nice gesture being done by our fire department that just shows that he really belongs, and he is a part of our fire department,” said Rolando Busto, Rit’s handler.
Like Busto, Rit is assigned to the police department’s technical rescue team. He is also a federally-certified search and rescue dog.
The Labrador’s job will also include rescue search for accident victims — whether someone is stuck in building debris, ejected along the highway, or a victim of a train derailment.
“A search dog like this can do the work of five humans when deployed in a situation where they’re actually looking for victims,” said Fort Lauderdale Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Heiser.
Rit is the only FEMA-certified dog in any Broward County Fire Department. He has been training with Busto since he was a 6-month old pup. He said they have a strong bond and friendship.
“It’s like having a family member. Rit is just as close to me as one of my kids,” said Busto. “We spend a lot of time together training, so you become one-in-one with your dog when you have them because they’re your partner. You have to be able to know them like the back of your hand.”
“It’s great,” said Heiser. “He puts a friendly face to the fire department.”
Images and article source: WSVN-TV – 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco