THE latest four-legged member of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's (MFRS) urban search and rescue team (USAR) has completed his first official mission.

Cocker spaniel Scout officially went on the run on Monday, December 9 after both he and handler Niamh Darcy passed their USAR Search Dog Team assessment less than two weeks before.

After a week of getting to grips with life as an accredited search and rescue dog, 18-month-old Scout was called to the frontline when a building collapsed in Garston, Liverpool.

Wirral Globe:

Scout & Niamh following Scout’s first deployment

Two fire engines rushed to the scene as well as the search and rescue appliance after a wall had collapsed due to strong winds.

Scout was then tasked with searching the rubble to make sure no-one was trapped or injured.

Thankfully everyone was accounted for and safe.

Niamh, who has more than 15 years’ experience at MFRS, said: “I’ve been training Scout since he was a puppy and I’m incredibly proud of him for achieving his accreditation.

"He is a young dog and how he performed on the day and on Monday on his first operational search shows he’s maturing nicely and thoroughly enjoying his working role.”

Wirral Globe:

Scout and the safety boots he wears when working on particularly treacherous surfaces

Funded by National Resilience, Scout and Niamh had to complete a rigorous training programme before becoming fully accredited which included basic obedience, agility, stamina and searching for casualties.

Now a fully qualified UK asset, Scout and Niamh could be deployed anywhere in the country, as well as locally.

Niamh added: “Scout also passed his Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) licence for open searching in September, meaning he is licenced to search open areas for missing persons.

"This is particularly useful in more rural areas where he can cover areas very quickly.”