MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (KXNET) — The Minot Air Force Base has found a new innovative way to help protect our country and our airmen. And his name is Atom.

He’s the Emergency Management team’s new pet, but he’s not like any other pets you’re used to.

Whether it is a natural disaster or a man-made toxic incident, Emergency Management specialists are trained for response and recovery operations anywhere in the world. And now, Atom, the robot dog will be a part of those missions.

“One of our responsibilities in emergency management is to act as emergency responders. So, we deal with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, components, agents, things like that. So, as you can imagine it gets pretty dangerous for us to go into those types of situations. And so, what takes us three or four hours to do, this robot can do in 15 minutes. And then, by the way, it keeps us out of harm’s way, which is really good,” said Dominic Garcia, the operations manager for Emergency Management at Minot Air Force Base.

Atom is equipped for any type of toxic chemical.

He can climb stairs, endure steep terrain, and run up to seven miles per hour.

Staff is training him to meet mission needs and to minimize casualties and damage in the event of any disaster situation.

“He actually gets put in harm’s way instead of us so not only can he detect exactly what’s going on, but he can tell us the amount that is going on, and then we’re back at the safe zone, doing our research so we know how to prepare our countermeasures for that,” said Dominic.

Atom is the first of two robot dogs that the Air Force base will acquire.

The air force base paid for him through federal grant money at $1.25 million, and staff members say he is well worth it.

Dominic says he is extremely easy to operate from a tablet much like a Nintendo switch.

“When it comes to the controller, it’s just a tablet that fits inside a couple of joysticks and it’s super easy, it’s super innovative, and it’s super great to use. Especially if it is your first time,” said Daniel Garcia a responder for Emergency Management at Minot Air Force Base.

They are prepping him for battle and for any situation that the Emergency team gets called to.

Daniel explained, “The end goal is actually some super serious business. But the idea is there is an area with some super toxic stuff in it and instead of having to suit up a person who is going to have to put their lives in danger, we’re going to put that dog with all of our equipment on it, and send it in before us and ideally, it tells us everything we need to know, and we never have to send anyone in.”

Atom is the first robot dog to make it to an air force base in the entire country.

Officials say as the more they learn about the robots and what they can do, the more protection they are providing for our county and our fellow airmen.

The second robot dog will arrive in February, his name is Chappy.

Eventually, security forces will also have a robot dog that will be able to detect any weapon in a vehicle or person coming onto the air force base.