Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue Workshop Travels to Quebec
People are willing to go to great lengths to rescue their animals and do not always make the best decisions in stressful emergency situations, retired police officer Aline Nault can attest. The Monts et Vallons à cheval, equestrian club president is proud of her members’ dedicated year-long fund-raising campaigns that resulted in bringing Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue training workshop to Quebec for the first time.
The Fairgrounds at Coteau-du-lac, were a hub of activity on the first two days of October 2022, with participants coming together from far and wide to receive specialized training. This intensive hands-on workshop included “real-life” scenarios including a mud rescue, horse and rider rescue, cast horse plus several different ways to perform drags, lifts and assists. Now 30 first responders including two veterinarians, two local club patrollers and fire fighters from eight different fire departments, have an increased level of knowledge when it comes to animal welfare and proper training for emergency rescue of large animals.
When any disaster strikes, an “incident involving animals” can quickly become an “incident involving people who are trying to save the animals”. This training also allowed spectators which comprised of many horse owners learning important prevention measures and how to make good decisions in the event of an emergency.
Presented by Equine Guelph, the large animal rescue course covered many topics including animal behavior in stressful situations and how to keep handlers and first responders safe. Best practices for large animal technical rescue, fire prevention plus personal safety and related animal behavior and care issues were all important topics discussed.
First responders received important training in normal animal behaviour and what to expect when that animal becomes stressed, in order to proceed in a manner that keeps everyone safe from harm. Basic handling included how to approach livestock and where the blind zones and kick zones are located. How to create and secure an emergency halter and then restrain & lead the animal to a safe containment area were also practiced.
“We feel strongly that this training is of benefit for all fire departments to help their communities, and we were pleased to bring this training to Quebec for the first time,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.
JS Lavoie volunteered his big machinery equipment for the course and was kept very busy digging holes for the rescue scenarios. Capron Trucking Inc.brought a livestock hauler. Both took part in class presentations explaining the capabilities of their equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals.
“All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders,” says course facilitator, Dr. Susan Raymond. “Through proper training and the use of specialized rescue equipment we significantly mitigate these risks and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders. By keeping responders safe, we improve our capacity to keep animals safe.”
Knowledge, practice and application was the goal attained over the 2-day course. After learning about the incident command system and the equipment they would be using, participants worked through rescue simulations. Safe attachment methods for straps and support were explained by lead instructor Victor MacPherson, Equine Guelph and Farm & Food Care Ontario emergency response training, and the assistant instructors.
“Together we can make a difference,” says Aline Nault “Cost wise for a city, if a rescue lasts four hours instead of twelve, we all win and if our firefighters don’t hurt themselves it is also a win. If our loved four-legged friends come out of a rescue safely…jack pot!”
Equine Guelph extends its thanks to Nault and the Monts et Vallons à cheval, equestrian club for making this training possible. Thanks to the team of knowledgeable instructors for the incredible 2-days of training: Victor MacPherson, Susan Raymond, Beverley Sheremeto, Robert Nagle, and of course to all the participants.
Stay tuned to TheHorsePortal.ca for the next course offering announcement.
If you are interested in hosting a Large Animal Emergency Rescue training workshop contact Susan Raymond [email protected] .