Our school is in an area that gets a bit rough at night. We've had a lot of vandalism at night and during the holidays, and it costs the school a lot to get the vandalism repaired, so we are upping our security measures. It's very distressing for the entire school community when the school is vandalised, so we are hoping that a combination of key, locks and grilles along with security patrols can help to reduce the rate of vandalism we experience. This blog is all about security measures for schools, and I want it to be a place we can share the measures that work for our schools.
If you've ever flown through a major airport, you're likely to have seen dogs and their handlers browsing the airport. While many assume these dogs are looking for drug offenders as part of border control, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, these dogs are commonly trained to detect explosives instead, helping to secure the airport against dangerous threats to public safety. They can be found at other major public events too. The frequency with which these pairs are used should speak volumes about their effectiveness. But how exactly do dogs detect bombs and explosives – and why aren't you allowed to pet them?
Layers of Scent
It's common knowledge that dogs have an incredibly fine sense of smell – but the exact statistic is that they have 40 times as many olfactory glands as humans. It's not just the fine-tuning, either. Unlike humans, dogs pick up scents in layers; it's like hearing a song and being able to differentiate the vocals or the bass from all the other parts. This is why dogs are perfect for detecting contraband. No matter what is used to mask or hide the offending scent, the dog can pick all those different components apart and still recognise the one they're looking for. This is especially useful for explosives, as they may be mixed in with a variety of different liquids, or wrapped tightly for concealment.
Training & Focus
Are they foolproof? Of course not. Dogs are living creatures, and all living creatures are capable of error – but the margin of error is significantly smaller than you might think. Once trained in the basics of smell detection, and the reward that comes with it, dogs pick up additional target scents quite easily. Their memory for these targets is excellent, and their sense of smell is too fine to be confused by things that may smell identical to a human. When they're in 'work mode', they are also unlikely to be distracted by the scent of food – a common tactic for those trying to evade detection dogs. This is the reason you are not permitted to pet working dogs; doing so may take them out of 'work mode' and reduce their capability to focus on the task at hand. Rest assured they do get affection just like any other pet dog. It's just restricted to their time 'off the clock'!
Essentially, dogs are able to provide a service that humans are physically incapable of performing, adding a layer of security that simply could not be achieved without them. This effectiveness and reliability mean that they will likely form a significant part of anti-bomb detection services indefinitely, and we should all feel much safer because of it.Share
21 November 2017