South Metro Fire Rescue – all in a day’s work
by Ali French
South Metro Fire Rescue Authority works tirelessly with our local communities to provide the best protection for our lives and property. The area covered is approximately 176 square miles in portions of Douglas and Arapahoe Counties. Protection is provided for more than 198,000 citizens and their pets.
Paws & Read magazine interviewed Battalion Chief Dave Daley and Paramedic Gretta Flatt for an insight into their world.
When we think of fire rescue we tend to think of just fire. However, these courageous and compassionate individuals are made up of firefighters, paramedics and other special teams who serve our community in various other areas outside of the realm of fires. This includes rescuing our beloved pets from a wide range of predicaments.
Our pets are our family and one key element to calm an accident victim and avoid such things as an asthma attack or cardiac arrest is to reassure them that their pet is safe.
One of Gretta’s experiences involved an auto accident where the owner of a small dog was in a rush to get her pet to the groomers. While the paramedics got to work freeing the lady from her wrecked vehicle, one of the team members carried the oblivious pooch across the road to the groomers. Thanks to the hard work and quick thinking of the firefighters, the lucky pup relaxed at the doggie spa while his owner was being rescued!
Many assignments involve dogs who have fallen through the ice. In these instances there is no time to waste. The rescue dive team member suits up as the team drives to the rescue, ready to jump into action. A line is attached to the rescuer allowing him or her to crawl slowly toward the exhausted animal, which oftentimes is on last reserves. To avoid getting bitten, the rescuer crawls behind the dog, and swiftly attaches a line to pull the animal to safety.
Dave’s team once received a call from a distressed owner; her dog had chased something into a drain pipe and couldn’t get out. The team used a small search camera to look inside, but the pipe was curved and the dog couldn’t be seen. Finally, following the sound of his whimpers, they narrowed down his location to a three foot area. They were able to carefully cut a piece of the pipe and pulled him out safely.
Resourcefulness was needed to rescue a horse out of its owner’s empty swimming pool. The poor animal had walked across the pool cover and had fallen in. On site, the team built a small wooden stair structure, lowered it into the pool and the horse was lead up onto solid ground.
It’s not just dogs and horses that get into trouble. On one occasion, after extinguishing a house fire (the owners were not on the scene); the team conducted a search and found a 2ft iguana sitting in the bathtub. The pet happily let the surprised firefighters lift him out of the tub.
Dave and Gretta, thank you so much for sharing your pet rescue experiences with the Paws & Readers.