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Training Specializations: Large Animal Tactical Rescue

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It is often discussed in Emergency Management circles that emergencies can become catastrophic the moment resources are compromised – either through having too much of a catastrophe, not enough personnel to manage it, or combination of both.  

Rescue squads and emergency management offices plan to effectively to manage emergencies, but sometimes the emergencies are bigger than they expected, or the emergency is outside of their training scope. In these situations, mitigation, planning and preparation may only go so far.

Large animal tactical rescue is an area of expertise that is greatly needed, yet it isn’t every day that large animals need rescuing. Further, because these emergencies may not happen too often, certain rescue areas may not be accounted for in a budget.

Large Animal Tactical Rescue

Large animal tactical rescue is a specialized area that most departments do not prepare for. Large animal emergencies simply don’t happen that often, but when they do, large animals in distress can cause tremendous havoc to individuals trying to help.

What started as a simple emergency can overwhelm an ambulance company quickly when emergency medical technicians and paramedics respond to a scene only to find they can’t assist because an animal is in distress and is dangerous – or they have too many patients to effectively manage.  

Virginia Tech [link url=”” title=”conducts large animal tactical rescue training”] at their Middleburg extension, providing important emergency training opportunities. Another school in California, the [link url=”” title=”Large Animal Rescue Company”], explains that large animal rescue should only be attempted by trained individuals because of the dangers surrounding large animal rescue.

Rescue Departments with this Specialization

Large Animal Tactical Rescue can be rare in some parts of the United States simply because the demand isn’t there. In the State of Virginia, however, the [link url=”” title=”Little Fork Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company”] has a team that is trained specifically for Large Animal Tactical Rescue. According to their [link url=”” title=”website”], they have a 100 percent response rate, and because of their efforts, $3.2 million dollars worth of property has been saved. Their specialization in large animal rescue helps emergencies of this nature from growing out of control. Their department is staffed by volunteers.

Training and Departments

Figuring out what is right for a given emergency department can be rather difficult. It is hard to not want to train in everything, as emergencies aren’t always predictable. More rural settings will have more of a potential opportunity for large animal rescue, while urban areas will not. Thus, training budgets and sessions ultimately need to be tailored to the departmental needs of the area.  Budgets are an important piece in deciding what areas a department should train in, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as the At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Secretary & Chair of the TEMS Committee with the International Public Safety Association and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. Prior to teaching, she worked for a Member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. Passionate about the policy issues surrounding emergency management and emergency medical services, Allison often researches, writes and advocates about these issues. Allison is an emergency medical technician and holds four master’s degrees.

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