Ill. Firefighters Learn Rescue Techniques for Large Animals
Rockford Register Star, Ill.
Mar. 25—About 20 first responders and others gathered Saturday to learn how to save lives.
Not the lives of their fellow man, however.
They were there to learn how to save horses, cows, pigs, sheep, llamas, alpacas and other large animals.
Blackhawk Fire Department and the Winnebago-Boone County Farm Bureau hosted a four-hour large-animal rescue training session, the first one of its kind in the area. The class is funded by the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.
Chuck Sheahen, a field staff instructor for the institute, led the group at Blackhawk Fire Department. Using slideshows and videos, he covered a variety of topics, including roadside response, rescue equipment, anesthesia and, in worst-case scenarios, how to humanely euthanize a suffering large animal.
"It gets us understanding that large animals' needs are different, and the tools you need when dealing with large animals are different," Blackhawk Fire Chief Shane Schiro said.
Though Saturday's event was a traditional classroom setting, there are plans to expand it to hands-on training, said Ann Marie Cain, manager of the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau.
She said large-animal rescue awareness is necessary in farm country.
"As an agricultural community, we have a lot of large-animal facilities," Cain said. "(The class) is giving us an idea of what to look at."
Steven Ashley, who has been with Blackhawk Fire Department for two months, said the class helped him. Now, he said, he knows not to stand behind a large animal during a rescue in case they kick.
"It's beneficial if we're in a situation when you're dealing with a large animal," Ashley said. "We know what to do to not make the situation worse."