EKU, USRider to Continue Large Animal Rescue Training
USRider Equestrian Motor Plan has teamed up with EKU to conduct large-animal rescue training for the second consecutive year. The training was initially offered at EKU through two training sessions last March.
“USRider adopted large-animal rescue as our philanthropy when our organization was established in January 2002,” said Mark Cole, managing member of the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan. “At that time, the issue was barely on the radar screen. We found that emergency responders, while trained experts in human rescue and extrication, had no training in large-animal rescue. Because of this lack of training, these responders were being put at great risk. Moreover, in many accidents and disasters, animals without life-threatening injuries were being injured further or even killed by use of incorrect rescue techniques.”
USRider has been working diligently to raise awareness of the need for training in large-animal rescue. Last year, the organization established an endowed fund at EKU to promote large-animal rescue efforts and support related training programs, including these training sessions. Working with the University, USRider offered the large-animal rescue training through EKU’s Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program. The training was designed to prepare students to handle incidents involving the rescue of large animals, particularly horses.
“Our nation is losing far too many first responders to line of duty injuries and deaths,” said Dr. Larry Collins, chair of EKU’s Department of Loss Prevention and Safety. “Animals are routinely transported over most of the roads in this country, and EKU’s Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program is proud to be part of this important program designed to prevent these needless deaths and injuries.”
Mark Cole, managing member for USRider, said, “We are very pleased to continue our partnership with EKU, especially since the university is located in central Kentucky – an area that is commonly referred to as the horse capital of the world.”
“The area surrounding the university has a large number of cattle and horses,” added Jim Larsgaard, director of EKU Farms. “In the case of an accident involving large animals, LAR-trained rescue personnel can provide a greater degree of safety for the animals and people involved, as well as the surrounding community. Further, training EKU students who will take management positions in rescue-related fields will bring an increased level of preparedness in large-animal rescue to other communities around the country.
“All of us at EKU Farms and the Department of Agriculture at Eastern Kentucky University look forward to participating in this unique opportunity to provide large-animal rescue training,” he continued.
Last year's sessions were very well received, with attendees coming from as far as California. The public session was attended by veterinarians, veterinary and pre-vet students from Auburn University, and several fire and rescue responders. In addition, several local responders from Richmond and Madison County attended the training.
Hoping to build on this success, USRider and EKU have planned two Technical Large Animal Rescue training seminars to be held in March 2006. Scheduled for March 17-19, the first seminar is reserved for EKU students. The second seminar, March 21-23, is open to the public, with emphasis on recruiting fire and EMT responders, veterinarians and others.
The training will educate fire/rescue personnel, first responders, veterinarians and horse enthusiasts about techniques and procedures to assist large animals involved in transportation accidents and other emergencies. Instruction will cover the use of sedatives and tranquilizers, chemical restraint, rescue ropes and knots, rescue from horse barn fires, mud rescue, helicopter rescue and water rescue, among other situations. The training, which consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training, qualifies each student to receive FSE 489 credit for the class.
“We feel that the ability to introduce the issue and train future leaders (EKU students) in large-animal rescue is truly exciting,” Cole said. “Training at the responder level is great, but it is a band-aid – these people are already in the field. However, with the national reputation and reach of EKU's fire and safety program and the students that we train going into leadership and management roles at fire and rescue organizations all across the country, we view this initiative as a vaccination where the issue is concerned.”
Both training sessions will be held at EKU's Meadowbrook Farm, located in eastern Madison County 2 miles off KY 52.
“EKU's Meadowbrook Farm provides an exceptional backdrop for the training,” said Cole. “It is a state-of-the-art facility situated on 720 acres in the picturesque, rolling, green pastures of the Bluegrass. The connection between business and farming has always been close; however, at Meadowbrook Farm, you can see the business of farming at work.”
With the training located at Meadowbrook Farm, the instructors will be able to conduct the classroom sessions and the hands-on training at the same site. In addition, the farm’s vast green spaces makes it ideal for the nighttime search and rescue exercise, which is conducted on the evening of the second day of training. In this exercise, in addition to training and using the incident command system, the students are taught how to deal with a panicked horse owner and rescue the person’s downed horse by using a rescue glide to transport the horse to a nearby ambulance.
For more information on these seminars, contact the EKU Loss Prevention and Safety Department at 622-1009.
In addition to these training sessions and other training initiatives and demonstrations, USRider worked with Drs. Tomas and Rebecca Gimenez to develop an awareness video about large-animal rescue. More than 1,000 free copies of the video have been distributed to veterinarians, EMTs, firefighters, horse associations, law enforcement officers, horse enthusiasts and other interested groups.
Contributions to the Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund may be sent to the Division of University Development, CPO 19A, Jones 324, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, Ky., 40475-3102. The Development office may be reached at 622-1583.
USRider Equestrian Motor Plan is a nationwide member-based organization providing roadside trailering assistance, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information, visit www.usrider.org or call 1-800-844-1409.