CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) – Cleanup and search and rescue efforts are underway in Kentucky, where at least 74 people have died and more than 100 are still missing following last week’s massive tornadoes that razed towns across the state.
About 500 members of the Kentucky National Guard joined volunteers and first aid teams sifting through piles of rubble. Police K-9 and military dog trainer Sinead Imbaro also joined the search and recovery efforts in the Bluegrass State.
“It’s a team effort,” Imbaro told NewsNation’s Marni Hughes. “[We] begin our search by assessing what is there and where we can send our dogs and hopefully find life.
Each search and rescue dog is trained to search for different things. Some dogs are scent trackers. They detect a human scent anywhere in the vicinity and search for a missing person who hopefully is still alive. The other is a dead dog, trained to detect the scent of human remains. Cadaver dogs can locate anything as small as a human tooth or a single drop of blood.
Imbaro said if the dogs found someone alive they would bark to alert the rescue team.
“This barking will continue until we get there. So at least 30 seconds minimum, they’ll bark until we get there. And then we can help that person and get them out.
She added that the dogs would also alert the team if they found any remains. This is not the first time Imbaro has taken part in a search and rescue mission. Imbaro also helped collapse the condo in Surfside, Florida in June. She said the rescue mission in Kentucky was a bit more difficult due to the size of the affected area.
“There is so much ground to cover that these dogs will have. I mean, they will work at one location. Once that’s clear, they’ll move to another location. So they will take this time, work in this place.
These highly trained dogs are also trained to move quickly from place to place.
“If they don’t find any change in behavior in that dog, they’ll just move on to the next place…and so on,” Imbaro said.
Most of the area affected by the storm is still without power. Food, water, blankets and generators are delivered to the area. President Joe Biden is expected to visit the state on Wednesday to assess the damage.