Nebraska Crews go to Dogs

Oct. 31, 2008
They are learning techniques to deal with dangerous dogs.

OMAHA, Neb. --

The Omaha Fire Department has a new training program to help firefighters deal with dangerous dogs at rescue scenes.

OFD called for the training after a number of incidents over the summer in which crews had to deal with angered pit bulls.

"We can't render first aid to the patient until we get past the pit bull itself, or any other dog," said Omaha fire Capt. Jim Gentile.

The Humane Society, which is conducting the training, let KETV NewsWatch 7 cameras into the classroom for an insider's look.

Humane Society workers are showing firefighters how to use a catch pole, a metal rod with a wire loop that can collar a dog behind the ears. It helps rescuers lead the animal somewhere without getting their hands close enough to be bitten.

Crews brought dozens of catch poles to the Police-Fire Training Center and put them into the hands of the Omaha Fire Department's training crew.

"They will, in turn, take their training to all the Omaha firefighters," said Mark Langan, of the Nebraska Humane Society. "It's going to pretty much guarantee their safety when dealing with dogs and it's also going to be safer for the dogs they encounter on the street."

The catch poles will be fitted to Omaha fire trucks as crews rotate in for training. Organizers hope that every truck and ambulance in the fleet will have its own catch pole.

Students were instructed on how to use the catch pole and then got to try it out on a boxer mix selected for the task by NHS officials.

"It was a pretty easy thing to handle," said Omaha fire Capt. Denise Kyle. "I believe that we can find it very useful."

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