Wilmington Fire Department adds new dog for Crisis Response Center

The Wilmington Fire Department revealed it is adding a new four-legged friend to the department in an announcement released Wednesday, September 6, according to WECT.

Axel, the Wilmington Fire Department’s newest and third Crisis Response Center dog, officially joined the department’s two other Crisis Response Center dogs, Rhys and Heart, on Wednesday, September 13.

According to WWAYTV3, Rhys currently works at WFD Station 8 on C Shift and Heart works at Station 2 on A Shift. Meanwhile, Axel will report for duty at Station 2 as B Team with his handler, Captain Moon.

He will work at the fire station during his shift and go home with his firefighter when they are both off duty.

Axel was introduced by firefighters from Empie Park Fire Station and presented with his official Crisis Response Center dog vest.

According to Lt. Josh Baltz through a WWAYTV3 report, “AXEL is considered a specialist crisis response establishment dog. To be able to do this, he must be able to be trained in specific commands to go to people and help them in times of need.

The three dogs at the crisis response center are part of the fire department K9 Assistance Program with Paws4people® foundation.

According to firefighters, “K9s offer firefighters the opportunity to relieve stress through the sense of touch and deep pressure, regain motivation and bring joy back into their day.”

Additionally, dogs from the Crisis Response Center “helps de-escalate stress after a traumatic event, alleviates station tension, reduces anxiety, reduces long-term effects of PTSD, and improves cardiovascular health.”

And dogs provide all of this not only to members of the fire department but also to members of the community in times of emergency.

Baltz also said that when they started this program, the firefighters had no idea how useful this program would be to the community, but they are happy that it is helping.


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