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Natural Awakenings Boston

Winchester Firefighters Learn First Aid and CPR for Pets

Dec 29, 2013 05:15PM

Last fall, the Winchester Fire Department received training from the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital (Mass Vet) on how to safely stabilize a dog or a cat rescued from a fire. Most fire departments in Massachusetts carry oxygen masks for dogs and cats, but, while the basic rules for first aid and CPR are the same for all mammals, there are key differences between humans and dogs and cats.

“We value the opportunity to provide educational opportunities like this to our community,” says Barbara Travers, hospital services manager at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital. “Our team of emergency doctors and technicians are deeply dedicated to saving lives. If a firefighter can stabilize and safely transport a rescued animal to us, it gives us a real chance at keeping a family intact when everything else is gone.”

The trainings covered anato my, vital signs and hands-on CPR using canine dummies. The firefighters learned how to find a femoral pulse, apply an oxygen mask and place an injured animal on a backboard for transportation. They also received tips on approaching fearful and often dangerous wounded animals.

“We cannot thank the emergency veterinary team at Mass Vet enough for all that they have done,” says Joshua Fiore, paramedic coordinator for the Winchester Fire Department. “With this knowledge, the people of Winchester can be assured that we will, to the best of our abilities, aid the veterinary professionals in saving their pets.”

For more information about Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital, visit

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