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Milford Beacon
  • State fire marshal’s office welcomes new canine crew member

  • Tanya, a Labrador retriever, and her handler, Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska, recently completed a five-week training at a canine accelerant detection school sponsored by State Farm Insurance and have already starting working at fire scenes throughout the state.
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    • MORE ABOUT TANYA

      AGE 2


      BREED Labrador retriever


      HOMETOWN Western Sussex County


      FA...

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      MORE ABOUT TANYA

      AGE 2



      BREED Labrador retriever



      HOMETOWN Western Sussex County



      FAVORITE TOY Tennis ball

  • There’s a new employee at the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office and she is more than ready and willing to work.
    Tanya, a Labrador retriever, and her handler, Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska, recently completed a five-week training at a canine accelerant detection school sponsored by State Farm Insurance and have already starting working at fire scenes throughout the state.
    Commonly referred to as an arson dog, Tanya is used to help deputy fire marshals detect the presence of ignitable liquids and find samples for investigations. While the Sussex County canine cannot prove arson, she is a valuable tool in fire scene investigations.
     
    Q: What’s a typical day like for you and Tanya?
    A: There’s several training drills that we do throughout the day, and that includes basic drills with her alerting on the hydrocarbon scent and other drills, where I set up different scenarios and we basically treat it like it’s a regular scene. We train at the burn building here at the fire school. On the weekends, we have to train as well, because that’s how she eats. She is a food-reward canine. She only eats when she alerts on a hydrocarbon scent. As a team, we really don’t get a day off. And in between that, we can get called to fire scenes throughout the state.
     
    Q: What’s the most challenging part of the job for Tanya?
    A: Tanya knows what she is doing. The human aspect is the challenging part of the job. She takes her job seriously. My biggest challenge is making sure I handle her in such a way that it doesn’t hamper her abilities. When we get the dogs, they’re partially trained, and we have to become a team and bond.
     
    Q: What’s been the most impressive thing that you’ve seen Tanya accomplish?
    A: She’s already worked several fire scenes. The most important thing as a team and a handler, when you take her to a fire scene, it’s unknown. The dog is completely unbiased. And when the dog goes in and alerts to something, that makes it all worth it when it works and when you see it happen. To see her do her job is the most rewarding.
     
    Q: What’s unique about Tanya?
    A: She’s the prettiest black lab that there is. Each dog is different. Having handled other dogs, it’s just how smoothly she works. She’s very methodical in her own way when I put her to work. Different dogs work different ways, but she’s very smooth and very serious about her job.
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    MORE ABOUT TANYA
    AGE 2
    BREED Labrador retriever
    HOMETOWN Western Sussex County
    FAVORITE TOY Tennis ball

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