With the outpouring of international support for the police dog “Diesel,” who was recently killed during a police raid in Paris, much attention has been focused on the invaluable role and care of Operational K9s (OpK9s) that are injured in the Line of Duty. OpK9s include police canines, military working dogs, force protection K9s, and Search and Rescue (SAR) canines. These working animals have continuously proven to be a force multiplier in the success of many military, law enforcement, SAR, and humanitarian operations.
Operational K9s are also close to the hearts of many of Mission Manager’s valued customers, who view their beloved creatures as trusted, valued partners in missions ranging from tactical SWAT operations, natural disasters, and search, rescue & recovery efforts. When a first responder loses a K9 in the Line of Duty, it can be as traumatic as losing one of their own colleagues.
According to The Officer Down Memorial Page (OPDM), there have been 26 fallen police K9s reported this year as of November 2015. Although the list is incomplete, Line-of-Duty K9 deaths have resulted from gunfire, stabbings, fire, heat exhaustion, poisoning, training accidents and more. Read more
To reduce the number of OpK9 Line-of-Duty deaths, one group is stepping up to the plate to help develop standardized guidelines for treating civilian OpK9s injured during high-threat situations. The non-profit K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Working Group, or K9-TECC, has recently released a white paper that addresses the Challenges Facing Pre-Hospital Care for Operational K9s Injured in the Line of Duty. (Download White Paper Here)
As noted in the white paper, “Similar to their human counterparts, working animals deployed in a tactical or high threat environment also remain at high risk for suffering preventable deaths. Despite their role in safeguarding our society’s freedoms, a large gap in pre-hospital trauma care (e.g., standardized guidelines, funding, training, logistical resources, research, etc.) for these OpK9s still remains.”
The group’s objective is to educate the Veterinary and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) communities about the main challenges that hamper appropriate and timely pre-hospital care for Operational K9s injured in the Line of Duty. In the process, the group hopes to facilitate a collaborative initiative between the two communities to ensure that OpK9s receive the best medical care possible. (Download White Paper Here).
About the K9-TECC Working Group
The K9-TECC Working group was developed under the auspice of the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (www.c-tecc.org), which was established to speed the transition of military lessons learned from the battlefield to civilian medical response to high-risk situations.
K9-TECC focuses on interventions that eliminate the major preventable causes of death that are “affordable, sustainable, and require minimal training and resources.” Similar to human TECC guidelines (available at c-tecc.org), K9 TECC principles should be incorporated into three dynamic phases of care: Direct Threat Care (DTC)/Hot Zone, Indirect Threat Care (ITC)/Warm Zone, and Evacuation (EVAC)/ Cold Zone.
Although the goals and principles for each phase of care remain relatively the same as human TECC, modifications will be made to account for K9-related anatomical and physiological uniqueness. Since the principles are modeled after human-based Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, the group believes that first responders should be able to easily learn and apply K9-TECC guidelines into their practices.
The group uses evidence-based medicine to form the foundation of their K9 TECC principles, however, it relies heavily on end-user input and representatives from the front lines to mold their final recommendations. K9 TECC welcomes feedback on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/k9tecc/