Palm Beach County Fire/Rescue
FEMA FL-TF1 Canine Specialists
Steve started his dog training career over 25 years ago, and since then, he’s worked with some of the best dog trainers in the world. He was given the honor to join the famous Miami-Dade County Urban Search and Rescue team FLTF1 in 1998, and he served on that team for 19 years as a canine specialist until his retirement. During that time, he was deployed all over the world to unimaginable disasters, such as the Turkey earthquake in 1999 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Steve also spent over 10 years as a FEMA evaluator, evaluating some of the best urban search and rescue dogs in the country. For two years he was the lead instructor for the canine specialist course for the state of Florida. He served with a team of veterinarians as a subject matter expert in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, advising on procedures to rescue animals left behind in disasters. His passion is working dogs, especially puppies, where he concentrates on establishing a good foundation, primarily utilizing marker training. He has worked with sport dogs, odor detection dogs (including diabetic alert dogs), and many USAR dogs. He is experienced in every aspect of animal training, from working with household pets to the highest level of working dogs. He has trained with agencies all over the country, including fire departments, law enforcement, military, and federal urban search and rescue teams. After 27 years working for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue as a firefighter/paramedic, he retired and moved just outside of Montgomery, where he continues to train dogs.
January 12, 2010
On January 12, 2010 Haiti was devastated by a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Miami-Dades Urban Search & Rescue team (FL-TF1) was one of the several FEMA teams to deployed in an effort to aid the ravished country. Among the team was K-9 Specialist, Steve Driscoll and his Border Collie, Blaze. Blaze was trained to search and find live bodies among the rubble.
On day six, Steve and Blaze were searching through some rubble when another member of FL-TF1 mentioned a mother saying that she hears her baby crying every night. The location of the house was on the side of a mountain that would be almost impossible to get to. Steve sent Blaze on a search when suddenly Blaze started to alert. When Steve got to Blaze he was barking at a concrete wall. The team breached a hole in the wall and peered in to see a 2 year old little girl, alive, behind the wall. The little girl was safely extracted and made a full recovery. She had been buried alive with no food or water for six days when Blaze found her.
Durning their time in Haiti, FEMAs Urban Search & Rescue teams saved several lives and helped in the countries most devastating moment. Blaze was credited with one of the most memorable saves in FEMA history.
Madison grew up in a small town in upstate New York until she went away to Rhode Island to study Equine Business at Johnson & Wales University. After graduation, Madison moved to Florida to work at a high end dressage facility. While living in Florida she met Steve and started learning dog training methods from Palm Beach Canine. After three years Madison and Steve moved to Alabama where Pack Leader was started. Madison now helps with some of the dog training, scheduling appointments and administrative type duties. She is also now a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. Madison currently works for an animal nutrition company and still rides and trains horses on the side.