Local first responders train to save injured K9 officers, thanks to nonprofit

Good News Notes:

Our K9 police officers are getting a lifeline. The animals face many dangers on the job like their human counterparts, but until now they didn’t have access to the same kind of emergency medical care.

A new Florida law allows first responders to treat injured K9 officers – even transport them by ambulance – for everything from gunshots to burns to other injuries they may receive on the job.

And thanks to the local nonprofit K9s United, nearly 100 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and EMTs from nearly a dozen agencies met in Jacksonville for groundbreaking training so they know what to do to treat an injured police K9.

The first responders simulated all kinds of worst-case scenarios using a lifelike simulator dog, but the danger is a reality for police K9s and their handlers.

“Shots fired! Communicate! You’ve got a down dog,” is heard during the simulation.

In the drill, a K9 officer is shot with the suspect is still firing. As some officers provide cover, other work to stop the bleed on the injured animal.

During the simulation, this is what can be heard:

“Hands up suspect. Step to the sound of my voice.”

“Remember, don’t wrap super tight.”

“Remember, hold that direct pressure. Secure that with a bandage.”

A lot was going on during the drill to secure the suspect, protect other officers and give lifesaving care to the K9.

Trainer Matthew Casey, a former SWAT medic in South Florida, guided the teams step by step, and he built them special kits specifically for K9 care.

“The biggest thing is to get that dog out of the open and get behind hard cover. People, mission, then dog,” Casey said.

As a SWAT medic, Casey responded to the Parkland school shooting and the attack at Fort Lauderdale International Airport and is now teaching police and firefighters emergency first aid – not just for human, but service animals too.

“Trainings like this, they don’t happen often in the government setting,” Casey added.

K9s United sponsored the training session at Jacksonville’s Police Academy. Dozens of law enforcement officers from nine agencies took part.

“When we do these training seminars, they are free to the agency,” said Debbie Johnson, founder of K9s United.

Besides this type of training, the local nonprofit provides K9s and their handlers with safety equipment and resources.

“These K9s are put into all sorts of situations, whether they are tracking a missing person, there could be a snakebite, there’s multiple different things,” she said.

Johnson founded K9s United back in 2015 after a suspect shot and killed St. Johns County Sheriff K9 Baron. She helped make Florida Senate Bill 388 a law – which allows paramedics and EMTs to treat injured police K9s and transport them to a hospital or vet clinic….”

View the whole story here: https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2022/03/01/local-first-responders-train-to-save-injured-k9-officers-thanks-to-nonprofit/

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