Got a call from a local hospital’s emergency care unit.  They were wondering how quickly our bed bug detection teams would be available in case they needed a bed bug inspection of their facility and ambulances.
Our dogs have inspected many different types of environment throughout their careers, but an emergency care unit of a hospital is an entirely different matter.

Below are just a few challenges that a dog/handler team might encounter:

  • The traffic:  doctors, nurses, visitors, patients being whisked in and out
  • The noise:   the sirens from the emergency vehicles, the shouts of staff, the screams or crying of patients, the frequent announcements on the Intercom, the constant beeps and status noises from monitoring equipment…
  • The variety of smells: from blood to alcohol to medicine; not to mention nauseating smells.
  • The commotions: the raising and lowering of stretchers,  the sudden mobilization of people rushing to an incoming ambulance, the constant opening and closing of doors….
  • The feelings:  anger, crying, anxiety, fear, moans, confusion, panic…
  • The navigation:  tripping over life support wires, bumping into people and equipment, dealing with food and worst:  medicine on the floor, navigating tight quarters and hallways, people wanting to pet the dog…
  • And finally, air circulation or movement:  extremely high in such an environment.  This last point is crucial from the point of view of scent detection.

A scent detection dog/handler team must be able to handle all of the above with a modicum of obliviousness in order to perform accordingly.  Practicing in such an environment is key to providing a good inspection of an emergency facility.

Here is some great pointers from Denise Donovan’s blog post on Ambulance Bed Bug Prevention, Transfer Techniques and Cleaning.