The Norman Transcript

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October 5, 2013

Norman firefighters and other first responders receive pet aid training

NORMAN — Norman firefighters gave chest compressions and breathed air into the “lungs” of a furry CPR dummy on Friday as they received new training to deal with animals while responding to calls.

Firefighters and several other first responders in the area took advantage of the Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) course at the Norman Fire Department Training center on Friday. BART is a non-profit organization that helps train first responders be better prepared to handle animals if they are present when responding to calls.

“Whenever we take medical patients and they’ve got dogs left in their apartment, they want them crated up. Sometimes it’s difficult because the dog is scared and they don’t know what you’re doing to their owner. They don’t know why you’re there so it’s hard to get them contained,” said Norman firefighter Justin Paterson.

There were three stations set up for the training session including a handling and restraining station, a resuscitation station and a station to help first responders learn how to check the heart rate and breathing of animals.

The first responders who attended the training are provided with a kit for their station to use which includes restraining tools and medical kits to treat animals.

“The hardest part is that we don’t know that until we’re there and if we don’t have that kit with us — I mean it’s still helpful to kind of be mindful of how to approach the animal and maybe use stuff around us like blankets, or like she (one of the trainers) said, pillow cases” Paterson said.

Different techniques and tools were shown during the training for cats and dogs. Some items, like a mesh bag typically used for cats, could also be used for other household pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or reptiles, said BART trainer Ellorie Liljequisti.

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