EVEN ras­cals NEED re­viv­ing

The Covington News - - Front Page - A.J. Archer news@cov­news.com

On April 15, an am­bu­lance from New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter re­sponded with county fire depart­ment units to a struc­ture fire on Mills Drive. Ev­ery fam­ily mem­ber was fine ex­cept for one — the fam­ily dog.

The fire­fight­ers and EMS per­son­nel re­moved the dog from the home, at­tempted to re­vive him and per­formed re­sus­ci­ta­tion ef­forts — in­clud­ing air­way man­age­ment and CPR — on the pet for some time, but the dog did not sur­vive.

Since then, New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter EMS has been gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in dog res­cue as part of a plan to pro­vide emer­gency med­i­cal care to the K-9 of­fi­cers within the county.

“I started get­ting in­ter­ested in an­i­mal re­sus­ci­ta­tion when we had an in­ci­dent that hap­pened dur­ing a SWAT standby,” said Dawn Bar­tow, para­medic and lieu­tenant of New­ton County Med­i­cal EMS. “The per­pe­tra­tor’s dog was in­jured, and no­body knew what to do. We then started think­ing, ‘What if some­thing hap­pens to a K-9 of­fi­cer?’”

As of right now, when a K9 of­fi­cer is hurt on duty it is loaded into the po­lice car and trans­ported to the near­est an­i­mal hos­pi­tal.

“They get to the an­i­mal hos­pi­tal and re­ceive care, but there is no emer­gency care for them on the scene to take care of them un­til they get there,” Bar­tow said.

EMS be­gan their an­i­mal res­cue care in a ven­ture spon­sored by Rhonda Ross of the Vetmed An­i­mal Clinic in Cov­ing­ton. The train­ing has since branched out to other parts of the U.S.

“Re­cently I went and took the “K-9 Down” class put on

at North Carolina State Univer­sity,” Bar­tow said. “We had live dogs from the Univer­sity of Florida for IV prac­tice and ca­dav­ers to do ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing gas­tric tubes, tra­cheal air­ways, splint­ing and treat­ing gun­shot wounds. It is es­sen­tially the same emer­gency train­ing as you would have for peo­ple.”

While still in the early phases, it is hoped that care can be pro­vided to ill or in­jured K-9 po­lice dogs should they be needed. The po­lice dog han­dlers are trained as well in their over­all and med­i­cal care, but EMS is po­si­tion­ing it­self to as­sist these of­fi­cers in car­ing for a fallen of­fi­cer.

“Our goal right now is to have some­one on each shift that can train on be­ing able to take care of the sit­u­a­tion,” Bar­tow said. “We also want to have med­i­cal bags and be on standby when dogs are out on the chase.”

Am­ber Pittman / The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter EMS have re­cently re­ceived train­ing on an­i­mal re­sus­ci­ta­tion. Sergeant Beau, a K-9 Of­fi­cer with the Por­terdale Po­lice Depart­ment, lies down in an am­bu­lance while his hu­man coun­ter­parts prac­tice their first re­sponse ac­tions.

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