HAMPTONVILLE, N.C.-- Emergency responders from 14 Piedmont counties, Ohio, Florida and Illinois are in Yadkin County this week learning the latest and safest ways to rescue large animals like horses during disasters and everyday emergencies.
Dr. Rebecca Giminez and her team from Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) are teaching the courses which use live animals along with 500 dummies placed in multiple life threatening scenarios.
"Hopefully we are building our response capabilities, making sure all of response agencies in all counties have capability to respond to animals in disasters and daily emergencies," said Michelle Brock of Forsyth County Emergency Management and The Piedmont Emergency Animal Response Team (PE-ART).
From burning barns, to horses stuck in ponds, mud holes and natural disaster scenarios, the responders are learning best practices and ways to rescue the animals without injuring the animals or rescue teams.
"Emergency responders are used to dealing with people, they may not have ever thought about a horse," says Dr. Giminez.
Dr. Giminez says rescuing large animals can be dangerous.
"This is 1,200 pounds of animal. It does not speak English, it does not understand what I am asking it to do and it's very afraid or maybe even injured," she said.
Ohio Firefighter Carol Redford came to the class in Yadkin County because she says, "I feel it's something we are going to be called on one day and training like this is rare."
Rescue volunteer Kelly Emerson participated in a horse rescue in Davidson County last week and she said the training is essential.
"This training is vital. It is one of kind training and we are very lucky to have HERO funding this training and putting this event on," Emerson said.
PE-ART teamed up with HERO or Horse Emergency Rescue Organization in getting a grant to help fund the event.
TLAER teaches similar seminars using their specially trained horses all over the US, the United Kingdom and Australia.