Limerick Township had their Large Animal Rescue Awareness Seminar at their municipal office/township garage on April 8, conducted by Metropolitan Toronto Police Services’ Mounted Unit officers Kris McCarthy and Joel Houston. Special guest MPP Ric Bresee (at centre, to the right of Limerick Mayor Kim Carson in pink jacket) was there to hand out participation certificates to all trainees from the fire departments of Limerick, Wollaston, Tweed and Sterling Rawdon Townships.Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Limerick Township Fire Department’s Large Animal Rescue Awareness Training happened on April 8 and was held at the Limerick Township municipal office and garage at 89 Limerick Lake Road. Members of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Mounted Unit and MPP Ric Bresee were in attendance at this training seminar, which had attendees from four different area municipalities, including Limerick, participating. Cindy Fuerth, Limerick Township’s fire prevention officer and bylaw enforcement officer said the event went very well. 

Limerick Township Fire Department’s Large Animal Rescue Awareness Training Seminar was on April 8 and went on all day at the township municipal office and garage. The training included both classroom instruction and practical applications for the attending volunteer firefighters from Limerick, Wollaston, Tweed and Stirling-Rawdon Townships.  

Kris McCarthy and Joel Houston from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Mounted Unit were there to train the firefighters, and Bresee was in attendance to hand out certificates of completion to the trainees and to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of volunteer firefighters in small municipalities like Limerick in the area.

McCarthy says that the skills they teach to the attendees to rescue large animals is something they teach the officers back in Toronto and he thinks it’s an invaluable tool to have. 

“We get calls for any horse related incidents, we’ve been called out to barn fires. I’ve made it my mission to educate as many as possible. We haven’t branched into large animals yet, but what we have done is familiarize everyone with how to handle a horse. Not a lot of people have that skill set, or know that skill set. So that the most important thing to know is how to feel comfortable around a horse and deal with a horse. And then from there, the reason I’m teaching the firefighters that if there’s a barn fire, we have an emergency plan in place that we exercise on a monthly basis. I familiarize our firefighters with our plan and how to do it and where to go and what to expect. At the same time, I’m also teaching the horses to do the same thing. So, I will set up a complete fake fire. I will fill the barn with smoke, I’ll have flares on the ground, I’ll have lights and sirens of multiple police vehicles to give the ambience of what a real life situation would feel like. I’ve had firefighters come in in their bunker gear and try to manage and deal with the scene. I explain what you’d expect when dealing with a barn fire.

“What we get out of the large animal rescue in Toronto would be more pertinent to trailer rollovers or something like that. We have multiple events that come into Toronto. Should one of the horses be in an accident on the highway or in the confines of the city, we want to have the resources available to us to deal with that situation appropriately. So, all our people have received this training. I’m trying to branch out with this where it’s not a full certified program, it’s just about an awareness,” he says.  

Bresee was there that day as an MPP to hand out certificates of completion to the firefighters and to show his appreciation for all the hard work and dedication of the volunteer firefighters assembled there from the four townships. 

“My father was a professional firefighter in Kingston so I grew up with an awareness of what a tremendous job firefighters do. My father had more respect for the volunteers in smaller communities than he did for his own force. Not only do they do the same thing as the professionals, they do it while leaving their own jobs and on a moment’s notice. So, he was always very supportive of getting all different types of training for the firefighter services because you never know what they’ll encounter. This one is great as it’s shared across multiple jurisdictions. So, with several municipalities being involved, they’ll know each other’s capabilities, they know how to call out, and in some cases, they share equipment,” he says. “It’s a wonderful way to go about it.”

By Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 23, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Bancroft Times   Bancroft, Ontario
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