Last week, Cardinal Joint Fire District firefighters took part in a different kind of training exercise. They learned the finer points of horse rescue.
The training was provided by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organization has put together a training program it offers on a national basis.
CJFD Deputy Chief Matt Rarick said when Joe Lane from Lane Funeral Homes found out about it, he helped make arrangements for the fire district and his own Lane Ambulance Service to take the training. Rarick said Lane owns several horses himself and is aware of how a non-horse owner may respond to a situation involving the large animals.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Lane Ambulance Service Assistant EMS Chief Tom Lambert assists Cardinal Joint Fire District Deputy Chief Matt Rarick and firefighters Joe Morrell and Scott Shaffer as the men learn the property way to move an injured horse. It was part of a new training session used to teach firefighters about rescuing their equestrian friends.
"It just made sense," Rarick said. "We get a lot of horse shows at the fairgrounds over the summer and every knows the number of horses that are at the Canfield Fair."
He said in transit, if a crash occurred, the horse owners would probably see to their animals. The question came up as to what would happen if the owners were injured in the crash. That would leave first responders to deal with the situation.
Rarick said the first half of the training involved how to handle and read a horse. He said one must keep an eye on the horse's ears to know what it feels. Each firefighter had to read a horse while putting a harness on one in a stall.
"I think we learned to be more comfortable around horses from that exercise," Rarick said. "We also learned that a horse can control you if it decides to."
The second half of the training involved moving a horse that is down, or lying on its side. It also taught how to handle an injured horse. To pull that training off, the Massachusetts organization provided a dummy horse that allowed firefighters to practice their newly learned skills.
With the fair only weeks away, the firefighters now have new skills that will allow them to handle horses in an emergency situation.