Recent years have seen a rapid improvement in the techniques for the localization of people buried in avalanches through the use of radio transmitters (transceivers). However, when the avalanche victims are not equipped with transmitter equipment, the use of rescue dogs remains the most effective method for locating them. Although the level of training of rescue dogs is generally good, there remains a considerable margin of improvement. Such an improvement could be achieved through innovative training methods based on the analysis of the dogs performance in a multi-disciplinary context. Among the problems that make this kind of study difficult, there is our lack of knowledge of the chemical and physical variables that govern the diffusion of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds rising from the buried body to the snow surface. Moreover, we still lack a study of a dog’s olfactory ability to discriminate among the different classes of molecules emitted by the human body (sweat, breath, clothes, etc.) and how these molecules reach the surface after moving through the snow mass. One of the ultimate goals of this study is to select specific olfactory targets that can be used for training avalanche dogs.

Study of the diffusion of human’s volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in avalanche snow: a potential chemical tool to improve training of avalanche dogs

Federico Dallo
2017

Abstract

Recent years have seen a rapid improvement in the techniques for the localization of people buried in avalanches through the use of radio transmitters (transceivers). However, when the avalanche victims are not equipped with transmitter equipment, the use of rescue dogs remains the most effective method for locating them. Although the level of training of rescue dogs is generally good, there remains a considerable margin of improvement. Such an improvement could be achieved through innovative training methods based on the analysis of the dogs performance in a multi-disciplinary context. Among the problems that make this kind of study difficult, there is our lack of knowledge of the chemical and physical variables that govern the diffusion of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds rising from the buried body to the snow surface. Moreover, we still lack a study of a dog’s olfactory ability to discriminate among the different classes of molecules emitted by the human body (sweat, breath, clothes, etc.) and how these molecules reach the surface after moving through the snow mass. One of the ultimate goals of this study is to select specific olfactory targets that can be used for training avalanche dogs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3725458
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