Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART)
BART, or Basic Animal Rescue Training, is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved training course designed for firefighters, EMTs, and first responders to learn how to handle small animals in emergency and disaster situations including house fires and vehicular accidents. The course is presented by veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and veterinary technician students that have become certified trainers through a specific training program. The program consists of four modules: 1) Awareness, Resources, and Learning Concepts, 2) Evacuation: Handling and Restraint, 3) Patient Assessment and First Aid, and 4) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Modules two through four are hands on stations that the participants work through using live dog volunteers and dog and cat models to practice their new skills.
The program originated in Minnesota and was founded by Dr. Janet Olson whose husband is a firefighter. The program recently made its way into Iowa with the support of the Iowa Veterinary Medication Association (IVMA), the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), and the Iowa Veterinary Referral Center (IVRC). Currently, there are four veterinarians (including myself) and one veterinary technician certified to train the course throughout the state of Iowa. At this time we have trained only a few fire departments, including the Urbandale Fire Department and Blue Grass Fire Department, and have had a very positive response to the program. We are holding a volunteer training event at the end of July to train further veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and veterinary technician students to help expand our volunteer base and hopefully lead to training more fire departments throughout the state.
To learn more about the program please visit their website at http://basicanimalrescuetraining.org where you can find information about the different courses offered, how and why the program was started, and ways that you can donate to the program if interested.
10/7/2013 ADDENDUM: With sponsorship from Altoona Veterinary Hospital, a BART training program was held for the Altoona Fire Department on Wednesday October the 2nd!