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Visiting Maine State Fire Instructor Conducts Large Animal Emergency Rescue Workshop

Photos and Article by Charlie McKee

On Saturday, September 15, and Sunday, September 16, Vicki Schmidt of the Buckfield, Maine, Volunteer Fire Department conducted an intensive workshop on large animal emergency rescue for Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue personnel, as well as for individuals from the Gila Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico.  The training gave them an opportunity to share their own knowledge of horses and emergency rescue with each other over the weekend, as well as learning the new rescue techniques taught by Schmidt.

During the two-day session, Schmidt concentrated primarily on horse rescue.  The training incorporated not only how to utilize and leverage the firefighters' standard equipment to extricate horses from entrapment or otherwise dangerous situations as safely as possible, but also how to approach an animal to minimize danger to both the horse and the human.

Maine State Fire Instructor and horse owner Schmidt summed up the workshop in these words, "The best part of all this was seeing the sharing of skills and knowledge happening between the firefighters and the horse owners.  That type of cooperation is what makes programs like this a success, especially in the long term."

Schmidt was invited to teach the workshop by Marc Levesque, Battalion Chief of the Pinos Altos Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.  The workshop is believed to be the first of its kind to be conducted in Grant County.  If there is enough interest in learning these life-saving techniques going forward, Schmidt may return to Grant County to teach the workshop again next year.

Photos by Charlie McKee and Susan Porter

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