Least Resistance Training Concepts

Volunteers Training for Emergencies

  Training for Responses to
Large Animal Emergencies
Revised October 2, 2017

Please note: These features are for illustrative purposes and to promote ideas for volunteer and stakeholder training. The concepts presented are not substitutes for relevant, actual hands-on training based on contemporary standards.


Emergencies involving large animals can come in a variety of forms ranging from the neighbor's horse going down to complex technical rescues and wide area evacuations. Rescuers as well as the animals they are rescuing benefit when the people involved possess certain basic technical skills as well as a relevant working knowledge about the behaviors of the animals being handled.

Significant technical rescues and wide area evacuation operations are often labor intensive and require participants from multiple teams and entities. Therefore it is important for safe and effective operations that everyone assembled is working from the same base-line playbook.

The purpose of this series of features is to illustrate several areas of training that prove beneficial when responding to actual incidents. These concepts are intended to provide relevant information to help teams identify training objectives, evaluate the relevance of training programs that are available to them, and to become better prepared when confronted with significant challenges.

  1. Emergency Evacuations

Emergency evacuations typically involve responders entering and operating inside or proximate to emergency zones. Stakeholders and civilian volunteers typically function much more effectively when they plan in advance, coordinate with fire and law enforcement officials, organize into teams that public safety personnel recognize, and periodically get together to train and check their equipment.

Much time is wasted when citizens with good intentions arrive at an emergency only to be held at bay by authorities who don't know who they are or whether they can operate safely within a restricted area.

Many of these major incidents are little more than controlled chaos. When volunteers arrive who are not part of some recognized auxiliary team, perimeter security personnel often fall back to, "If in doubt, keep them out."

More specific information on ways to organize effective response teams can be found in the section, Developing an Effective Regional Large Animal Evacuation Program.

The series of information sheets you are currently viewing focus primarily on training concepts for specific skills.

  2. Rapid Removal Techniques

Successful rapid removal is often the result of use of safe, proper equipment and proper techniques. Volunteer responders are most often part of a larger operation involving other teams and many simultaneous incident activities. How someone may be able to load Trigger at home might not be relevant to working with other volunteers who are attempting to rapidly remove someone else's animals under hazardous and stressful conditions. One responder's mistake can impact the activities of others present. Delays getting reorganized can result in the threat growing closer and exit routes becoming compromised, or at the very least, responders being delayed responding to the next call due to complications experienced at the previous call.

Rapid removal training should involve some review regarding proper personal protective equipment (PPE.) A cowboy hat or a ball cap would not be regarded as proper PPE, nor would a tank top be considered fire resistant clothing. If you arrive to help at an incident but don't appear to be prepared for the job, there is less chance that you will be allowed to proceed.

Similarly, trailers as well as tow vehicles need to be in good operational condition and up to the task. During a fire or flood the way out may not be over some properly paved road and the locals may give bad advice if they aren't aware of deteriorating road conditions. An evacuation is a very bad time to discover that your trailer has a problem or that your 4-wheel-drive isn't working.

Skills training.

Recommended training scenarios include tying a quick halter, employing a triangle chute, deploying a modified chute for loading, and deploying a screen panel and chute for loading horses that are agitated and cannot be approached and haltered, and working with plastic construction netting (sometimes called "snow fencing.")

Setting up loading chutes utilizing panels carried on stock trailers.
Animals being unloaded in stressful situations similarly require safe containment.
Properly used construction netting is a great deal safer and usually far
more reliable for loading non-compliant horses than chasing around with a flag.

Additional information can be found in the Rapid Evacuation Procedure Guide.

  3. Water Supply Issues

Livestock that are sheltered or are even temporarily relocated to collection areas require resources. Hay and water are usually important for reducing stress and helping produce calmness in the animals. Some potential holding locations may not have clean water available. Some means to carry water and contain it for drinking should be developed and responders be aware of these resources.

Water carried in fire apparatus may have been exposed to chemicals used to improve the effectiveness of extinguishment. Therefore known clean water assets should be used whenever possible.

LRTC's Water Supply 1 can deliver water through various means.
This unit carries 400 gallons of water and has drafting capability.
Excess water can be either returned to the trailer tank or be redirected to another tank.
Shirley Allen practices with the "protection line."

More specific information can be found at the following links.

Continue to Use of Construction Netting

Return to Information Sheets and Resource Guides

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The training information presented in these information sheets and guides is offered for illustrative and volunteer refresher purposes only. It is not a substitute for actual hands-on training.

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