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Valentin, David. Fire K9s: Their Nose Knows. American Fire Journal. Vol. 48. July 1996. p 38.

Abstract: The author, who works with a K9 named Jerry Lee, wrote this article to rebut two points in another article entitled "Have Nose, Will Travel," featured in the January issue of American Fire Journal. The two points to be rebutted regard canine olfactory sensitivity and the renaming of canine accelerant detectors to more accurately reflect their role.

He agrees with the other article's statement that fire service dogs are merely a tool, and while their assistance is valuable, they comprise only a part of an investigation.

However, regarding specific research into the canine olfactory system, the author cites studies from as early as 1935 in which a dog's sensitivity to butyric acid was shown to be anywhere from 1000 to 100 million times greater than man's. In 1970, the CIBA Foundation published studies suggesting canine olfactory sensitivity to be 10-100 times greater than man's. And most recently, Dr. Larry Myers, the founder of the Institute for Biological Detection determined that the canine olfactory system can absolutely detect at a level of parts per quadrillion. Dr. Myers believes that canines can actually sense at a greater level but he does not have the lab equipment to confirm this theory. The author believes that this research firmly establishes that the canine olfactory sense is greater than and possibly more sensitive than laboratory equipment.

The second point to be rebutted addresses a new term for accelerant detection dogs--"combustible and flammable liquid canine" or CFL canines. This term would clarify the fact that dogs cannot discriminate between an accelerant and a flammable or combustible liquid that was simply present during the fire. Therefore, the term "accelerant" is not appropriate. The author sees no need for such a name change. In fact, he uses his own dog to locate the presence of accelerants. He warns against the need for names to be so job specific and suggests that "fire service dog"or "fire K9" should suit everyone's purposes.

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