Becker College to offer animal emergency training for first responders

Published on Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

BART flyer thumbnailView the flyer for more information.

In 2004, Bart, a 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, was lost in a Minnesota house fire. By the time Bart was located, he was unresponsive. Unfortunately, the firefighters who responded to the fire were not equipped with the knowledge or resources needed to save Bart’s life.

In order to avoid tragic losses like Bart’s, Becker College is offering a day of free Basic Animal Rescue Training (B.A.R.T.)—a Minnesota-based professional organization founded in 2004 by veterinarian Dr. Janet Olsen in response to Bart’s death (Olsen and her husband, a firefighter, were Bart’s owners)—which provides first responder training on the handling and care of animals during emergencies.

The training—Handling Small Animal Emergencies—will be held at Becker College’s Leicester Campus, 9 Washburn Square, Leicester, on Saturday, August 15. During the event, first responders and emergency personnel will learn how to handle small animal emergencies such as a house fire, motor vehicle accident, and disasters such as floods and tornadoes.

“As the home of a nationally recognized animal sciences school, Becker College aims to help guide the animal care community by examining the social impact of the bond between humans and animals,” said Richard French, DVM, M.S., Ph.D., Dean of Animal Studies and Allerton Chair of Animal Health Sciences at Becker College. “This type of training is necessary in order for first responders to be prepared to offer safe care and handling of animals, as well as humans, in times of crisis.”

This three-hour workshop, offered as a morning or afternoon session, includes four modules—awareness, resources, and learning concepts; handling and restraint during evacuation; patient assessment and first aid; and animal CPR. The session will be conducted by professionals from B.A.R.T. The course sets the standard for small animal rescue training as it is the only Department of Homeland Security approved curriculum in the nation. With a goal to preserve human health and safety, B.A.R.T. empowers first responders, firefighters, police, paramedics and emergency medical technicians with the training, knowledge and equipment necessary to safely handle domestic animals and livestock during emergency situations. A team of trainers will be on hand with live animals and mannequins for training.

Becker College’s School of Animal Studies is an academic institution dedicated to the welfare of animals. The College is among the top 15 producers of undergraduate animal studies degrees among four-year private institutions, and one of only two private colleges in New England to offer AVMA-accredited undergraduate programs in veterinary technology.

This Becker College and B.A.R.T. collaborative training event is supported by the State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) and Tufts Paws for People.

The event is free and open to first responders (police, fire and rescue, EMTs/ambulance service personnel, animal control officers); however, space is limited to 60 participants. For more information or to register by July 24, please contact Lisa Chase at 774.354.0659 or