Captain Rick Lee of Sacramento City Fire and his partner Ana, a rescued Golden Retriever, were one of SDF’s very first search teams. In addition to being on call for major state and national disasters, Rick and Ana (like other SDF search teams) serve their community by responding to local emergencies. Some of these events never make the evening news. But while they may not get the attention that major disasters do, their impact is just as great on the people directly involved. The role of the canine search teams is crucial to people lost in the wreckage, and to families and friends waiting to learn if loved ones have survived the ordeal.
In 2002 and 2003 Rick and Ana responded when buildings collapsed in Sacramento. One was an abandoned commercial building, one half a city block in size. The roof had collapsed during a storm, causing all the walls to fall except for one. Another incident was the collapse of an abandoned turn-of-the-century brick building. Though neither building was in use, the team was sent to determine whether anyone who happened to be in the building was buried in the wreckage.
“After Ana’s thorough search we determined that no one had been trapped in the debris. If anyone had been there, Ana would have found them. It’s professional and dedicated teams like these that make people feel safe and protected in their communities,” said Captain Lee.