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Meet Nelson the tweeting fire dog
11:30am Thursday 27th September 2012 in Cornwall
He may be more used to chasing balls than tweeting his followers, but Nelson the fire investigation dog is loving dipping his paws into the world of social media.
Believed to be the first UK fire and rescue service fire dog to take to Twitter, the four-year old springer spaniel has gained more than 40 followers in his first month on the site.
Owner and handler Watch Manager Mark Smith set up Nelson’s account (@Nelson_firedog) to help promote fire safety messages and give an insight into the canine’s daily life.
He said: “Nelson is a popular dog and many people stop to talk to us about his work whenever he joins me at community events.
“Twitter seemed to be the logical next step. Now we can share details of Nelson’s work to a wider audience, from scent detection to safety messages.
“Nelson is steadily gaining more followers on Twitter, but fortunately he isn’t letting this new found fame go to his head – he still has an important role within the Service’s fire investigation team!”
As CFRS’s only FI dog - or hydrocarbon detection dog, to give him his official title – Nelson is brought in to identify the cause of fires which are thought to have been the work of arsonists.
Trained to detect minute traces of accelerants, Nelson can detect a variety of substances from petrol to acetone.
“To Nelson, this vital work is a game,” explained Mark. “But it is well known that fire investigation dogs can detect the presence of ignitable liquids with greater accuracy and speed than humans, or specialised detection devices brought to the scene.
“He’s a fantastic dog, who loves what he does. When working or training, Nelson’s reward is play time with a tennis ball - an arrangement he’s very happy with!”
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