Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Fire district gets first responder training for animals


March 24, 2017

Courtesy Photo Veterinarian Crystal Connor and Technician Ki Goodman pose with MVFPD first responders and their dogs as part of the training efforts.

Veterinarian Crystal Connor and Technician Ki Goodman of the Left Hand Animal Hospital have been reaching out to first responders of the Mountain View Fire Protection District.

They’re conducting classes on how to deal with pets in various situations.

“It’s kind of what I would term a triage CPR training for the Mountain View Fire District,” Dr. Connor said. “We’re hitting multiple fire houses, the whole purpose of this one was to get training for the Niwot fire department.”

The course includes a lesson about basic canine and feline patient handling, including obtaining the heart rate, checking for breathing problems and other types of immediate care firefighters can provide in the field.

“The whole idea is to get the firefighters a basic idea of of evaluation,” Dr. Connor said. “It’s to set them up to be able to be successful in giving first aid and to try and improve the outcome for the patients. The hope is that it will increase the survival rate of pets.”

The classes include a canine CPR dummy, but Dr. Connor and Goodman bring along their real pets to give the class more of a hands-on feel.

It’s part of their community outreach focus, which Dr. Connor has been moving forward since she joined the practice last year.

“It’s worked out really well because we’re able to help out multiple districts,” she said. “It’s not just Niwot, it’s the whole Mountain View Fire Protection District,” adding that these scenarios are nothing new to first responders.

“They’re already encountering these cat and dog patients with house fires or other rescue scenarios,” Dr. Connor said. “For me, I just wanted to make sure that they are that much more prepared to deal with that and not just go with a whim on how to deal with those animal patients.”

In many of these situations firefighters typically go for the humans first, but also frequently deal with animals in the houses they encounter.

“They do the very best they can with prioritizing,” Dr. Connor said. “Human patients are the first priority, but they also are very compassionate, and since people are worried about their pets in those situations, they become a priority too.”

She said that people can place stickers in their window showing what kind and how many pets they have inside, similar to the stickers that indicate a child’s bedroom.

The district has been receptive to the training, and Dr. Connor said that responders have expressed gratitude for the efforts.

“So far they’ve all been very appreciative,” she said. “We know they’re already out there doing it, we just want to make them more comfortable and reinforce what they know. The important thing is that this training isn’t to replace our role in the animal’s care, it’s to provide basic things to stabilize the animal.”


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