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CERT Jamboree features Large Animal Rescue

Published: 9/21/2010
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By Maddy B. Gray

Last weekend, scores of Mainers traveled to Readfield, Maine, to visit the posh, lakeside facilities of Camp Laurel.
Under brilliant sun, over 130 volunteers set aside part of all of their weekend to better themselves and thereby better their community. It was the annual CERT Jamboree!
CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and the Jamboree is a state-led concept of qualifying volunteers in a fun, marathon style, as opposed to eeking out class hours bit-by-bit in a dreary basement room at county emergency management offices. (That’s what I did.)
It’s a great event and NickerNews hopes readers will become involved in this state and national effort to increase the number of volunteer First Responders everywhere.
There are courses in first aid, pet first aid, search and rescue, general emergency response, radio operations, and much more.
I went to Camp Laurel to help my friend and colleague Michelle Melaragno.
As director of operations for HEART equine ambulance and an instructor for the international outfit, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER), Melaragno is the best in the state for teaching a large animal rescue course.
The jamboree offered a four-hour awareness course developed by Melaragno and TLAER. In future, I hope it will offer more in-depth training. I took the three and a half day certification course twice when it was offered at Pineland in 2008 and 2009.

Melaragno brought her PMU mare, Magpie, and two rescued miniature horses, Pippin and Zephyr.
I brought my pony, Peppermint, to round out the group. But I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive for bringing Pep, too: Michelle’s horses are very well-mannered and calm. Pep is very sensitive and forward. I thought it’d be helpful to show non-horse folk just how go-y horses can be!
Melaragno spent nearly two hours presenting the program through a PowerPoint presentation in a cabin facility. Nearly 30 students followed her lecture on trailer rollovers, stuck-in-mud scenarios, and incident command at a large animal response scene.
After a break, we introduced the class to some hands-on training.
How do you contain a group of loose horses?
How do you approach a loose horse?
Is it cool to move quickly, shout, and wave your arms?
The group practiced several ways to place equipment on horses in order to get them out of certain scenarios, like being stuck in a ditch or in mud.
Melaragno warned all of us: “If you can’t do it safely, you can’t do it.”
Click here to view WCSH coverage.


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9/22/2010 Dr Rebecca Gimenez
WOW WOW WOW! Congratulations to Maddy and Michelle for putting on a great pre-awareness training event to spread the news about technical aspects of large animal rescue - Tomas and I are very proud of your work on the local level to share your knowledge. Michelle is definetly the subject matter expert in Maine - glad your expertise was showcased!!!!!

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