Meet Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service's new recruit
4 October 2018, 06:00
Digby will be used to help firefighters deal with traumatic call outs.
This is Digby.
He's the newest recruit for Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service.
The 6 month old Australian Labradoodle is being trained to help firefighters after traumatic incidents.
At the moment Digby is busy completing his socialisation training, and when he reaches eight months old and has been fully assessed by Pets as Therapy he will become a Therapy K9 with the fire service.
When he does, he'll be the first fire service therapy dog in the country.
His handler Group Manager Matt Goodman carries out Critical Incident Defusing - after a serious and traumatic incident, firefighters go to sessions to help them deal with the aftermath of what they've seen.
As part of his training, Digby has already attended his first Defusing session in July following a serious Road Traffic Collision on the A35 near Honiton.
Matt says "The crews immediately responded to Digby when he arrived at the fire station which provided a positive focus both before and during the Defusing session" - and we can see why.
The use of Therapy Dogs has been scientifically proven to help people who have been exposed to traumatic situations or who are dealing with very challenging situations in their lives such as ill health or learning ability.
Defusing helps to protect firefighters from harm and reduces days lost to sickness.
The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Critical Incident Defusing process has proven itself to add real value in preventing long term psychological damage after firefighters attend traumatic operational incidents by reducing the risk of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).