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50 Mass. first responders get emergency training with horses

Monday, October 21, 2013, 6:06pm
(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) – Paxton, Mass. firefighter Shawn Meade got a hands-on experience Monday.

“A lot of them let you come up, touch them, lead them around,” Meade says.

He's one of fifty first responders that got trained on how to save a horse during an emergency.

Firefighters, policemen and EMT's were asked to come to the day-long training at Becker College's equestrian center.

“First responders are trained to respond to humans; most of them have never been trained with animals and it could easily become a factor,” says Richard French.

Roger Lauze, manager of equine rescue for the MSPCA, taught the training.

“We are teaching them the correct way, the safe way to handle horses to begin with and then we teach them to handle a horse in a stressful emergency situation,” he says.

Lauze has done the same type of event all across the country.

“A successful horse rescue to me is that no humans get hurt; that is what we are going to teach them,” he says.

Responders first work with horses learning how to walk and lead them.

Then, using a horse mannequin, Lauze goes over how to save horses from a barn fire to car accidents involving a horse trailer.

He says it’s more difficult than people might think.

“You can potentially die; horses are big powerful animals and if you are in a bad spot in an emergency situation they could kill you.”

Lauze says there are more horses in Massachusetts now than there ever has been before; knowing how to respond to them is key.

“Not many people know how to do it, so if we have more people that know how, we can absolutely save more animals and save more people trying to save the animals,” Trina Baker says.

Meade says what he learned from the training makes him feel more prepared for what he will come across on the job.

“Working as a firefighter you come across a lot of unknown situations and having someone in your department that has been exposed to this is helpful.”

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