These aren’t your typical guests at the fire station and they’re here to help first responders save farm life.
Bend Fire and Rescue trained for large mammal incidents with live horses.
“I haven’t been around horses since I was a kid,” said firefighter and paramedic Nick Thomas.
Mustangs To The Rescue, a rehabilitation center for wild horses, lent some of their residents for a large animal rescue training on Friday..
“It’s very real and the dangers in a situation like that when you don’t know large animals are plentiful,” said Mustangs To The Rescue Executive Director Kate Beardsley. “So it’s very important for our first responders to know what to do in large animal emergencies.”
The group of firefighters went through a three-hour training, which involved practicing harness techniques and helpful tricks on their volunteers.
All three mustangs used in the training today are formerly wild Ochocos, they’re also used in forest fire supply hauling and trail rescues.
“I mean it’s not like we have rescue dummy horses or large animals around so being able to train with the actual real thing and actually utilize those techniques you learn in the classroom out in the field is really important,” Thomas said.
Firefighters also learned about rescuing livestock from burning barns, mud, and trails while protecting themselves from kicks and head butts.
Officials with Mustangs To The Rescue said they hope to train more first responders in January.
When it comes to tips for the public, the best thing to do in an emergency involving a large mammal is to act fast.
“They need to call for help quickly. That is one of the first things. A lot of people tend to wait for a while and that makes things much more complicated,” said Board President of Mustangs To The Rescue Linda Conrad.
For most emergencies involving horses, Mustangs To The Rescue works in tandem with first responders to make sure that everyone, and every pony, is safe and sound.