Placerville, CA, July 21, 2022 —The El Dorado County Fire Protection District welcomed Accelerant Detection Canine Denali to the organization during a badge pinning ceremony at the regular Board of Directors meeting Thursday. Fire Chief Tim Cordero conducted a badge pinning and swearing in ceremony for Denali and K9 handler Captain Jamie Preston. Denali has been serving the District for just over a month and has already been active on several fire investigations.
Denali is a two year old yellow lab. She recently completed 8 weeks of initial accelerant detection training followed by 2 weeks of additional handler training alongside Captain Preston. Denali was the only accelerant detection K9 in a class of other working dogs who were destined for explosives detection and other roles. She received her certification as an accelerant detection K9 through the American Police Canine Association (APCA). Denali will accompany handler Captain Preston, a fire investigator, to fire scenes where they will conduct fire investigation tasks. Both will complete regular training in order to maintain competency and to annually re-certify. The District is also a member of the Sacramento-Sierra Arson Task Force which will provide for some additional fire investigation opportunities for Captain Preston and Denali.
In addition to fire investigation work, Captain Preston is a full-time shift captain on a fire engine in Pleasant Valley. Captain Preston has been a full-time employee of the District for over 15 years and had many years of volunteer firefighter experience prior. Captain Preston is also licensed as a paramedic. When it's time to go to work, Denali accompanies Captain Preston there too. She has been a welcome addition to station life and has already worked shifts at all of the District's stations. Although she does not go out on routine emergency calls she is happy to wag her tail and greet the firefighters as they return from calls on the fire engines and medic units. At the end of each shift, she returns home with Captain Preston and his family where she gets to enjoy life as a dog with her other lab "siblings".
The Accelerant Detection Canine program is entirely funded by private donations to a designated canine fund through the El Dorado County Professional Firefighters Association - International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3556.