South Aust gets mobile unit for large animal rescue training

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Australia's rescue mannequin Riley during winch training.
Australia’s rescue mannequin Riley during winch training.

A mobile training unit with specialised equipment will soon be available in Australia for training volunteers involved in the rescue of large animals involved in an incident, such as a natural disaster or the rollover of a horse truck.

Horse SA recently organised a workshop at Roseworthy’s University of Adelaide Equine Health and Performance Centre, where rescue techniques were demonstrated, and the role of a veterinarian within a State Emergency Service (SES) rescue team discussed.

At the workshop, ‘Riley’, a life-size mannequin horse was ‘saved’ after falling down inside a trailer, before SA SES volunteers used the “mannequine” to demonstrate a new quick-release sling. Traditional slings have fixed fittings, potentially causing further injury to the horse and by-standers if the animal panics and tries to gallop away while still attached.

From left, Ben Birbeck, SA SES; Julie Fiedler Horse SA; Casey Hogan, University of Adelaide Equine Health & Performance Centre  Practice Manager; The Hon. Tony Piccolo MP, Minister for Emergency Services; and Sally Equid SA SES with ‘Blackie’ the horse.
From left, Ben Birbeck, SA SES; Julie Fiedler Horse SA; Casey Hogan, University of Adelaide Equine Health & Performance Centre  Practice Manager; The Hon. Tony Piccolo MP, Minister for Emergency Services; and Sally Equid SA SES with ‘Blackie’ the horse. © Office of Tony Piccolo

The Hon. Tony Piccolo MP, Minister for Emergency Services inspected the specialised equipment before the workshop, which is aimed at keeping emergency service volunteers and assisting public safer on the scene of an incident involving large animals.

Horse SA is a recipient of a National Disaster Resilience Program grant for the purchase of a trailer to establish a mobile training unit and selection of specialist equipment.

South Australia is the first state in Australia to develop an agency-endorsed written training resource dedicated to large animal rescue. As a result, the SA SES will use the mobile training unit to support rolling out several courses during 2016 across the state.

In a unique offer aimed at a creating a safer working environment and building working relationships between professionals, the SA SES is making available placements at LAR training workshops at no charge to veterinarians who specialise in treating large animals.

From left, University of Adelaide Equine Health & Performance Centre  Practice Manager Casey Hogan; Ben Birbeck from the SA SES; Julie Fiedler from Horse SA; Minister for Emergency Services Tony Piccolo; and Sally Equid and Ben Birbeck from SA SES. 
From left, University of Adelaide Equine Health & Performance Centre  Practice Manager Casey Hogan; Ben Birbeck from the SA SES; Julie Fiedler from Horse SA; Minister for Emergency Services Tony Piccolo; and Sally Equid and Ben Birbeck from SA SES. © Office of Tony Piccolo

Horse SA will similarly use the mobile training unit, with planning under way for workshops with Sampson Flat and Pinery fire ground residents.

“The same large animal rescue skill set is valuable for volunteer organisers of community events involving large animals, including horse competitions and country shows,” said Julie Fiedler, Executive Officer of Horse SA.  “Volunteer worker safety and animal welfare are two current areas where this training will make a difference”.

Attendees included Dr Duncan McFetridge, Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Vince Monterola, Pinery fire Local Recovery Coordinator, Kirsty Dudley, Pinery fire Community Development Officer and Professor Robin van den Boom, University of Adelaide.

 

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