Starke County EMS ambulances are now equipped to help the county’s four-legged law enforcement officers as well as civilian animals. The county ambulance service recently got a grant from Invisible Fence for free pet oxygen masks.
EMS Director Keith Emigh, Assistant Director Travis Clary and Starke County K-9 Officers Rob Olejniczak and Adam Gray have been working together to help EMT’s and paramedics become more prepared for an incident involving the police dogs.
Paramedics recently volunteered their time to take a class from Dr. Lisa Booth of Vale Park Animal Hospital in Valparaiso. She runs the nonprofit organization “Kits for K-9’s” and provides special first aid medical kits to local K-9 officers. Booth donated kits to both the Starke County Sheriff’s Office and North Judson Police Department.
Starke County EMS officials also made individual cards for each county K-9 officer that will be placed in each ambulance in case of emergency. Each lists the dog’s weight and life-saving medications that can be administered. Clary says Starke County EMS also learned they can transport a wounded K-9 in an emergency situation to the nearest 24-hour emergency vet at Purdue North Central in Westville.
Legal restrictions prohibit the transportation of non-law enforcement pets. However, the pet oxygen masks on the ambulances can be used to provide supplemental oxygen to civilian animals in need after, for instance, being rescued from a house fire. Each truck is equipped with small, medium and large masks.