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Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training Returns to MeafordOctober 2018

Story: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

first responders from Fire, Police and EMS, learning invaluable lessonsIn a unique training opportunity bringing together first responders from Fire, Police and EMS, invaluable lessons in large animal rescue were learned at the Meaford Fire department training centre, Oct 12 -14, 2018. For the third-time, this hands-on Equine Guelph course has been offered at this location with very positive feedback not only from the first responders but also large animal owners that have benefitted from the intensive workshop.

See the Barrie CTV News report.

Thank you to Scott Granahan, Chief, Meaford Fire Department for lending the fantastic facility which over the three days hosted over 8 fire departments, OSPCA officers, the Hamilton Mounted Police and many interested participants from the horse industry.

“I was so impressed with the interaction with the students and the compliment of the team,” said course lead trainer Victor MacPherson District Fire Chief, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department.

Skills were honed following the incident command system learning 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.

Course instructor and Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker facilitated learning on behaviour and anatomy. “Tails, legs, heads and necks are not appropriate handles,” says Ecker, “it is important to understand how the animal may react to ensure a safe rescue for the animal and for the safety of the responders.”

Dean Anderson from Workplace Safety and Prevention Services kindly presented on farm safety including common causes of injuries and fatalities. “This training is so important for first responders faced with emergencies dealing with large animals,” says Anderson “it can mean the difference between life and death for both the large animal in peril and the humans intent on saving it. The benefits are immeasurable to have this level of expertise for safety and welfare of both animals and people involved.”

“The course was truly amazing!” said participant Paulene Tiemens-Weber, Territory Manager – Equine Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. “The most important take away for me was the feeling of collaboration between the Fire Fighters, the Police and the University of Guelph instructors that were there. All were from different districts but yet everyone had one factor in common – a passion for animal welfare and commitment to rescues that save lives without compromising safety.”

A past supporter of the Large Animal Rescue workshop, Rob Wells of Rob Wells Trucking in Mildmay once again provided a 53' livestock trailer for participants to walk through. Dave Blake of Kells Towing provided a tow truck to support hands-on training.

Participants were also well fed by Connie and Gord Morton of To The moon café.

A big thank you to all the phenomenal supporters, participants and team of course trainers that made this incredible educational training possible. Course trainers: Lead - Victor MacPherson, District Fire Chief, Adjala-Tosorontio FD, Gayle Ecker, director, Equine Guelph, Susan Raymond, Equine Guelph, Katherine Hoffman, formerly of OMAFRA, Tracy Lapping, OSPCA, Troy Moffat, AGCO and Southwest Oxford FD, Robert Nagle, Central York Fire Services, Chris Watson, Adjala-Tosorontio FD.

Stay tuned to for the next offering of Large Animal Emergency Rescue training.