Essex's top fire service pooches were put through their paces at a national training exercise.

Jarvis and Fizz were joined by dogs from Kent, Hampshire and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services at a training exercise earlier this month.

Handlers and dogs conducted search and rescue and fire investigation exercises at a former school site in Colchester and a nearby wooded area.

Graham Currie, Essex Fire's senior dog handler, said: "We put the dogs through their paces. They are trained to a really high standard in so many different elements so it is important to keep giving them input, whether that's obedience, agility or search training.

"In the woods, it took each dog a matter of minutes to cover 20 acres and find the 'casualty' high up a tree. It could have taken dozens of people searching for 24 hours to cover a similar area.

"It shows what an important role they play - whether that's in a search operation which means we don't have to commit firefighters or in an investigative role to make sure we find accelerants."

The experienced fireman added: "We are working closely with Essex Police and other organisations so we can share expertise."

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