PINEVILLE, La. (AP) — Louisiana National Guard combat medics are now learning emergency treatments for service dogs.
“Treating a K-9 is not something we typically think about as a medic, so this training is extremely important for us,” said Sgt. Caleb Frost, of Pineville, a flight medic with G Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment.
Using a training dummy borrowed from Fort Polk, he and 13 other medics recently learned techniques such as inserting intravenous lines, clearing a dog’s airway, applying tourniquets and checking vital signs, the guard said in a news release.
Sessions titled “K-9 Tactical Combat Casualty Care” were only part of the curriculum during a 10-day training session in late January to renew their emergency medical technician and CPR certifications.
That included refresher courses in such techniques as managing battlefield trauma, treating heat and cold injuries, starting IVs and giving medications to people during their stay at Camp Beauregard in Pineville.
Combat medicine is among a few military specialties for which civilian certifications are required, said Sgt. 1st Class Howard Bushey, of Prairieville, who directs combat medic training.
“Adding the K9 training is important because not only will we most likely be the source of care if a K9 is injured, but there are certain things a medic needs to know,” said Sgt. Kennedy Chapman, Bushey’s assistant. “This course teaches medics not only how to effectively treat a K-9, but also how to handle a K-9 properly without being bitten or injured.”
After classroom sessions are completed, simulations are used to evaluate participants’ assessment and treatment, using human dummies and the canine dummy.
Frost said he found that the best part of the training. “We went through all levels of patient care from point of injury to being medically evacuated and finally a hospital setting,” he said.
Bushey hopes to improve the quality of the program and focus on developing the medics’ critical thinking skills. He also wants to incorporate more prolonged field care and possibly have medics compete in a best medic competition within the state.
Bushey said the LANG currently has the highest sustainment percentage for medics in the National Guard as well as one of the top training programs in the country.