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March 1, 2010 – Eden Prairie Fire Department BART training TV News Story

Laura Kennedy, WDIO News Reporter from Duluth attended the Eden Prairie Fire Department BART training and ran this story on their channel on Monday evening, March 1, 2010.

You can read the story below, but click on the link above to see the news clip on the training.

When a crisis happens, emergency workers are trained to help people first. But family pets are often in danger too. Sometimes owners are left standing helplessly as firefighters try to rescue animals trapped inside a burning home. A traumatic experience which people who fight fires can understand.
That’s why these firefighters are learning “BART,” short for Basic Animal Rescue Training. In other words, how to keep pets alive until they can get veterinary care.

“We need to empower these people on how to handle these animals in these situations,” said BART trainer Cassie Panning.

When a pet is scared, it may try to bite or scratch. so firefighters learn first how to catch and restrain an animal. And there are some tools that can help, like one called a “snappy snare.”

Cats can also be brought to safety in a pillow case or a mesh bag.

These methods work for cats, but dogs are a different story. So trainers recommend putting a muzzle on the dog to keep them from biting and putting a leash on them to get them out of danger.

When emergency workers are able to get animals out of danger, they might not know what to do if they need medical attention.

“We had a couple of dogs in a fire. They actually got the dogs to the pet hospital before they expired,” said Ray Carlson, an Eden Prairie firefighter. “Maybe if we had known what we were doing back then, we could have helped a little bit earlier.

Sadly, veterinary workers say this happens all too often.

“We hear accounts all the time of animals being pulled out of house fires that did not make it because there wasn’t proper training on scene,” Panning said. “They tried to adapt their human equipment to try to save them but weren’t quite sure how to do it.”

Fortunately, basic life support for animals is not that different from techniques these first responders already know. Just like with humans, they need to assess vital signs such as the animal’s heart rate.

“There are some different things that separate it from a human versus a pet. They’re pretty vital,” said Trevor Jacobs, an Eden Prairie firefighter. “It’s a little different when you’re trying to find a heart rate, so that was important to know.”

They will also look inside the pet’s mouth to check blood flow and see if the animal is in shock.

Trainers say you can check for breath sounds with a stethoscope, or use a simpler method, like holding up a glass to see if it fogs up.

If the animal has been in a fire, it may need oxygen. The BART kits include an oxygen mask that can work on dogs, cats and some more unusual pets like snakes and birds.

If the pet is not breathing, responders may need to do mouth-to-nose rescucitation, and compressions to keep the heart pumping.

Using mouth-to-nose and CPR on an animal may seem a little over the top, but these firefighters know how strong the bond can be between humans and their animals.

“For a lot of them, it’s just like losing a family member, any family member,” Carlson said. “Especially some of the elderly owners that don’t have kids around anymore. Their pets are their kids.”

In light of that bond, it’s only right that some human tools can help our animal friends. For example, pediatric “C” collars can be used on larger dogs with neck trauma.

“These BART trainees say knowing these techniques could make all the difference in a crisis.

“Assessment is huge,” said firefighter Erik Anderson. “The pulse was definitely a huge thing, checking capillary refill. I didn’t know how to do a lot of that.”

But there is more to the training than learning skills. Just as important is respecting the deep connection between pets and owners.

“The human-animal bond in strong,” Panning said. “We saw the effects of that with the hurricanes. People actually refused to evacuate. They would not leave their pets behind. So then we actually had humans losing their lives.”

Saving human lives will always be priority one for firefighters. But BART trainers hope by teaching these skills, they can help firefighters change potential tragedies into life-saving rescues.

Angel Animals Network is helping raise money for BART

Angel Animals Network is helping raise money for BART

Allen and Linda Anderson are pet-expert speakers, authors, and founders of the Angel Animals Network. They help people discover and benefit from the miraculous powers of animals. Dedicated to promoting human-animal companionship, Allen and Linda donate a portion of proceeds from their work to animal rescue organizations and do fundraising activities. They highlighted BART in a recent book entitled “Rescued: Saving Animals From Disaster” and have chosen to support BART with a portion of their first quarter proceeds from 2010.

The Andersons believe that whenever you connect spiritually with animals, thousands of new doors open. Through their books, newsletters, presentations, insights, and website they will show you portals into a whole new world where animals are your guides, healers, and friends. For more information regarding the Angel Animals Network, please visit their website at www.angelanimals.net.