EQUINE NEWS

Large Animal Rescue Course in DemandMay 2018


Story: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

TLAER workshopIn emergencies with life and death situations where most people would flee, how is it that firefighters, paramedics and other first responders stay calm and methodical? Training and the right equipment are two of their most important tools.

Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue program has been presented at six venues already since the start of 2018 with the same message. This training is critical for first responders faced with emergencies dealing with large animals. For the animal’s owner, it is valuable knowledge to stop a highly emotional situation from turning into catastrophic one.


Since 2014 Equine Guelph has made significant progress in establishing a Large Animal Rescue program in Ontario with its qualified team of instructors. Over 360 people have attended training events including fire fighters, first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations.


“The Large Animal Rescue Awareness Course was very educational and informative,” says Chuck Lobsinger, Fire Chief at South Bruce Fire Rescue Service. “All the firefighters that participated gained valuable knowledge and experience using Equine Guelph’s training aids and equipment. Very positive feedback was received from all participants. I would recommend every fire department to have personnel take this type of training.”


TLAER workshopParticipants from this latest training in Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course, at Mildmay Fire Department (South Bruce) April 21 – 22 also said the hands on portion taking step by step walkthroughs of the rescues were really helpful. Feedback also relayed valuable lessons were learned in the overall approach to instances involving large animals including animal behaviour, anatomy and best practices for large animal manipulation techniques such as forward and rear assists, sideways drags, sling arrangements and how to work safely in confined spaces.


There are plenty of “rescue” videos out there showing dangerous methods of pulling animals out of situations which result in tragic loss and further injury. In her anatomy lesson, Gayle Ecker director of Equine Guelph emphasizes, “tails, legs, heads and necks are not appropriate handles!” Equine Guelph demonstrates techniques and best practices for rescuing large animals that promote positive outcomes and safety for all. This includes proper use of specialized equipment and positioning of webbing around the body of the animal to lift or drag it to safety.


Rob Wells of Rob Wells Trucking in Mildmay kindly provided a 53' livestock trailer and bays for training. “I was pleased to supply a 53' livestock trailer and have my son Devin explain the capabilities of the equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals,” said Wells. “I would also look forward to helping out at future offerings as it is so important to have both livestock haulers and first responders learn to work together in the event of an emergency."


Sponsorship for the Large Animal Rescue Awareness Level Course delivered by Equine Guelph in Mildmay, ON was kindly provided by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.


“The Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the Municipality of South Bruce are pleased to support the Bruce County Fire School,” said Relationship Manager, Paul Austin. “The training is an investment in not only building awareness, but also the skills and knowledge that are key to supporting community well-being now and in the future. Agriculture has a huge presence in our community and the Large Animal Rescue Awareness course helps prepare our first responders for the unique needs of our communities.”


Other events since the beginning of 2018 include:

- January 19, 2018 – Seneca Lake (ice/water) Large Animal Emergency Rescue Awareness presentation) – hosted by Central York Fire Department
- March 1, 2018 – University of Guelph – Large Animal Emergency Rescue presentation to Performance Horse Handler Certificate program and Associate Diploma in Equine Care and Management students from Clinton, ON
- March 3, 2018 Equine Research Day (University of Guelph) An introduction to large animal rescue training
- March 20 and 21, 2018 - Training for Puslinch Fire Department - Large Animal Rescue Training
- March 26 and 27, 2018 - Organization of Racing Investigators training conference - Large Animal Rescue Training


People who have attended training alongside firefighters have said it was interesting to see how things are done and they gained insight on what they could do if they were ever involved in an emergency situation. The incident command system is one of the standard approaches covered and it gives a clear understanding of roles and working together effectively.


All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders. The way to improve the odds of a favorable and safe outcome for both animals and responders is through proper training of best practices and how to use rescue equipment. Equine Guelph thanks the hosts, supporters and participants of these important workshops.


For more information or to bring a course to your location visit TheHorsePortal.ca and contact Dr. Susan Raymond at slraymon@uoguelph.ca