KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Live Find K-9s are trained to locate victims trapped after disasters. In the midst of an emergency, paramedics in Kansas City, Kansas, are learning how to save their K-9s' lives, too.
On Tuesday, a field care class for K-9s was held at the KCK Fire Department.
"We're taking a whole bunch of different steps to make sure we're prepared for any scenario," said Mike Searcy with the KCK Search and Rescue K-9 Unit.
Four dogs participated in the training, who are all on the Kansas State Task Force. Searcy said all are referred to as disaster dogs, responding to areas impacted by tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes.
The training was less for the dogs and more about their handlers learning how to treat any potential injuries.
"In any way if they get injured, or need hydration, or medications or fluids, anything like that, we're preparing the deployable members of our unit to be able to take care of those dogs in the field," Searcy said.
The field care class was led by the K-9 Unit's veterinarian. It was the first hands-on training of its kind at the KCK Fire Department.
"We're working on different techniques to give them the mobility they still need to work, if it's a minor enough injury that we can just bandage it and then keep working. Then we also learned a lot of immobilization techniques for something like a broken leg or dislocated hip, things like that," Searcy said.
Searcy is Zoom's handler. Zoom's job is to find anyone who is alive and trapped or lost. He's the first K-9 of his kind in the metro area and saw his first deployment in Linwood, Kansas, after the May 28 tornado.
Searcy said he hopes Zoom and others won't have to be put to work, but now he and other handlers feel prepared for any situation they encounter.
The fire department plans to continue with the field care training at least once every year.