Va. Paramedics Training to Provide Emergency Care to Working Police Dogs

Two-day class provided hands-on learning through use of cadaver K-9s, trained working dogs and dog mannequins.


 RICHMOND, Va., February 2, 2012 - Select Richmond Ambulance Authority paramedics attended a K-9 Medic program this week, hosted by the Richmond Police Department. The class provides K-9 handlers, paramedics, tactical medics and other support members with the skills needed to prevent and treat injuries and illnesses in working dogs.

Richmond Ambulance Authority CEO Chip Decker was delighted to be able to participate in the program: “The Richmond Ambulance Authority and Richmond Police have a deep respect for each other and strong working relationship. The officers work hard to keep our citizens safe and do not hesitate to enter into danger to protect our paramedics on threatening scenes. It is reassuring to know, that in a worst case situation, we are able to provide life-saving interventions for all the members of our law enforcement team.”

In the comprehensive program, Richmond Ambulance Authority’s Training Coordinator, Daniel Linkins, and Lieutenant Caitrin Conroy, learned how to transfer their existing human EMS skills to the K-9 patient. The two-day class provided hands-on learning through use of cadaver K-9s, trained working dogs and dog mannequins. Safe handling and extrication, assessment, oxygenation, CPR, bleeding control, splinting, suturing, advanced and surgical airway management, IV/IO/SQ infusions, environmental emergencies, poisonings and prevention were among the topics covered.

“We are so practiced in using these skills in treating humans, it’s fascinating to learn how to apply them to K-9s,” said Lt. Conroy. “One of the greatest joys of being a paramedic is the feeling of security that comes from knowing the best steps to take in a life-threatening situation. Now having the knowledge and practice to be able to confidently apply techniques to help the K-9s is very exciting and empowering.”

The lead instructor, Jo-Anne Brenner, a K-9 medic and handler, tactical medic, certified special operations protection specialist and a consultant for Pet Emergency Clinics and Specialty Hospital has taught teams such as the U.S. Border Patrol, 10th Special Forces Group, 3rd ID, various SWAT/EMS teams and protection specialists from across the country. Brenner believes in a multi-disciplinary approach and said, “K-9 Down brings together the worlds of special operations tactical medicine, veterinary medicine, extraction technique and human EMS. Experts in these areas contribute special knowledge and ways to provide medical services to K-9s injured in the field, often in treacherous or hostile environments.”

K-9 Officer Monty Agee also trained with the paramedics and added, “It is great working in the city of Richmond knowing that I have a world-class EMS agency immediately ready to help if anything ever happens to me or my K-9 partner.”

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City's residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 135 calls per day and transports, on average, 140 patients per day. RAA’s emergency response times are among the fastest in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of all responses. RAA is one of only 11 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  For more information, see www.raaems.org.

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