A horse trapped in a canyon; a bull escaped from its pasture; a wild animal injured by a car–these and other incidents pose dangers to animals and people. When emergency personnel arrive on the scene, will they be prepared to help while protecting the safety of their crews and members of the public?

In conjunction with the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security, members of the International Animal Welfare Training Institute (IAWTI), from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine, presented two training sessions, Aug. 24 and 25, to prepare first responders to address such incidents with an eye toward public safety and animal welfare.

"First Responder Guidelines to Equine Emergencies" introduced first responders to the safest measures when dealing with down, injured, trapped, and loose horses. Members of IAWTI covered communications protocols, equine behavior, restraint techniques, and lifts. Participants learned about the incident command system, which establishes responsibilities and communications channels when multiple organizations respond to an emergency. At practice stations located at the school’s teaching hospital, participants received one-on-one instruction to learn procedures such as haltering a horse to guide it away from danger and using "skids" or other equipment to help move an incapacitated animal.

"Loose Livestock, Injured Wildlife, and Emergency Animal Euthanasia" focused on the safest measures of dealing with loose or downed live