First responders learn how to treat injured animals during an emergency. The training is the result of a recent state law – that allows them to offer aid.
In a classroom at Fox Valley Tech’s Public Safety Training Center, officers and firefighters listen as instructors teach them the basics of caring for injured animals.
“We’ve pulled a number of sticks from dog’s chests that poke right into their heart,” said one trainer.
“Today they are learning everything from tip to tail,” said instructor Lyn Schuh.
The course is taught by the Animal Referral Center of the Fox Valley. Schuh says they developed the course working with the college after passage of Senate Bill 435 roughly two years ago.
“We take them through the anatomy of the dog. What is normal, what is not normal, we teach them to use what’s on them to restrain the animal to get them out of a bad situation,” Schuh said.
The bill allows emergency responders to give aid to injured animals they encounter while out on a call, without the fear of being sued for any outcomes resulting from the action they took. In essence it gives them immunity.
“We can work in a safer environment knowing we can provide care without repercussion,” said La Crosse Firefighter Cory Westpfahl.
“A matter of life or death for the canine in some circumstances,” said Alex Brooks of the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department.
From identifying heat stroke, to applying a bandage, Schuh says the sooner injured animals are treated the better the outcome.
“We need to respond quickly with these things – time is of the essence,” Schuh said.
“As a firefighter we’re not only looking for civilians, but we’re also looking for people’s pets and we want to be able to help them just as much as the people,” said Westpfahl.
And now these emergency responders have the skills to keep animals safe and a state law giving them the power to act.
This is the second year the training has been offered by Fox Valley Technical College.