You are here: Home > Handler Profiles > Search and Rescue Handlers > Matthew Dixon

Search and Rescue Handlers

Matthew Dixon

“I am the dog handler for West Midlands Fire Service and have recently changed my 2 dogs over to your feeds. They love it!! My dogs are maintained at the Brigades (and ultimately the tax payers) cost and I am well chuffed to have found a quality food at a fantastic price. Having tried various feeds, in CSJ I have discovered a range of feeds that are truly fit for purpose.”

The first ever Fire Investigation dog was in the US in 1985, the first in the UK was in 1995, the Black Labrador Star, who was employed by the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service.

Matthew has worked as a Fire Investigation (FI) Dog Handler for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service since 2005.

The ‘rewards' ......

Matthew says, “There is nothing more rewarding than the dog indicating the presence of a flammable liquid in a scene that would otherwise not have been located, this is magnified when it results in an arsonist being convicted. The dogs are undoubtedly the best resource available to us to perform this task and every success we have goes some way to convincing the sceptics (particularly a small number of Forensic Scientists) of the benefits of the dogs.”

Matthew's dogs ......

Matthew has 2 dogs - Ellie, an 8year old ¾ Labrador/ ¼ Springer Spaniel and Peppa, a 9month old German Shorthaired Pointer.

Most memorable ......

Asked for his most memorable success, Matthew says that every ‘find' is a success. On a personal note however he says the first time Peppa indicated a flammable liquid was a massive relief, her training is still on-going but it was a massive jump in the right direction.

How Does A Fire Investigation Search Dog Work?

  • The Fire Investigation Search Dog is called out to fires where arson is suspected. The dog searches the fire scene once the fire is out and the scene is cold.
  • The vapour given off by an ignitable liquid ( eg. Petrol, paraffin, diesel etc. ) is tracked down at speed by the dog.
  • The dog indicates the location of the substance to the handler. This is done in many different ways, but the most common is a stop and stare at the spot where the substance is. (Passive Indication)
  • A sample can then be removed for laboratory examination.
  • Success is based on highly skilled training plus the respect, trust and bonding between dog and handler.

The Advantages Of Using Dogs For Fire Investigation

  • Canines can detect the presence of ignitable liquids with greater sensitivity and accuracy than electronic field equipment so increasing the detection of accelerated fire scenes.
  • Canines can differentiate between natural hydrocarbons produced during combustion and hydrocarbons introduced in illegal fire setting.
  • Canines can reduce the time an investigator spends on excavation and debris sampling.
  • Canines reduce the number of samples that require expensive forensic testing

Matthew can be contacted at: matthew.dixon@wmfs.net

Mat Dixon,
Fire Investigation Dog Handler,
Oldbury Fire Station,
Fire Safety Centre,
Old Park Lane,
Oldbury,
B69 4PU

Ellie in action

Ellie in action

Matthew and dogs

Matthew and dogs

List of all Search and Rescue Handlers

Kathrin Tasker

Kathrin’s Search Dog Winnie received a commendation from the police for saving the life of a missing girl.
Find out more

Jon Runbol

Surrey SAR is a volunteer organisation on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist Surrey Police and other Emergency Services
Find out more

Seamus Kearns

Seamus started in Search & Rescue in 2004 after leaving the Air Training Corps (RAF) and saw the amazing work that dogs can do.
Find out more

Lou Holmes

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Warren Van Der Merwe

Surrey Search and Rescue (Dog Section).
Find out more

Roland Brooks

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Ray Greenshield

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Philip Eichman

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Melanie Lewis

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Annette Sawyer

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Mark Lambden

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs
Find out more

Mandy Partridge

Surrey Search and Rescue (Dog Section).
Find out more

Sven Manning

Surrey Search and Rescue (Dog Section).
Find out more

Joanna Hewelt

Obedience and Search and Rescue Dogs, Poland.
Find out more

Jessica Harvey

Lowland Search Dogs Kent.
Find out more

Paul Mulcahy

Lowland Search Dogs Kent.
Find out more

Karin Jung

Lowland Search Dogs Kent.
Find out more

Matthew Dixon

Fire Investigation (FI) Dog Handler for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service.
(You are on this page).

Niki Toogood

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Daryl Toogood

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.
Find out more

Customers' Views

Fantastic service!

I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic service, my cat biscuits arrived today and Thomas adores them, its great to have the dogs and the cat on a brand I can trust, am now recommending on catchat forum along with the dogs food wherever possible !

Kate Ramsden

:: more testimonials

CSJ User Profiles

Roland Brooks

Berkshire Search and Rescue Dogs.

:: more info
:: all profiles

Need Help? (office hours 9.30am - 5.00pm) contact us. Nutritional help available by email only.