Rick Maricle: EMS Considerations for the Operational K9

EMS Considerations for the Operational K9

This blog series offers a sneak peek into the speakers and sessions at our upcoming annual conference Education by the Sea, May 10-12, 2023, in Port Aransas, Texas.

This week we are profiling Rick Maricle, who is on the agenda to speak Thursday, May 11, at 1:40 p.m.

Did you know several states have recently passed legislation requiring EMS providers to be able to treat and transport K9s assigned to public safety agencies? Yet, EMS providers are not trained in the basics of how to assess, treat, or safely transport an injured K9 properly to prevent morbidity or mortality.

Rick Maricle’s background combines both of these areas. Maricle started out as a Law Enforcement K9 Handler and joined EMS when he realized that he enjoyed “first aid” class as much as he did law enforcement.

“The trend continued into EMT school, paramedic, then getting my FP-C and teaching EMS,” Maricle said.

Currently, Maricle is captain of EMS Training & Education at Bexar County ESD#2 in San Antonio, EMS Chair of the Texas Operational Canine Care Committee, and board member of the National Association of Veterinary EMS.

The “Why” Behind His Topic

Maricle’s topic, “EMS Considerations for the Operational K9,” is important for him to share with other EMS providers because he believes the Operational K9 (Police, Search/Rescue, or Arson K9) is a critical component of public safety. He says they deserve the same level of care that EMS personnel would provide any other citizen or public safety professional.

“These K9s are valuable, one-of-a-kind assets, that cannot be replaced by current or emerging technology,” Maricle said. “The void that is left, even temporarily, with an Operational K9 that is injured or killed is immeasurable, to small towns and large cities alike.”

The role of Operational K9s in public safety is rapidly increasing, Maricle says, thanks to state and federal funding, which will make them more commonplace, and unfortunately, at an increased risk of injury and death. To consider their impact in the community, Maricle says to think about that Search/Rescue K9 that will look for your lost child or elderly parent. Or the Explosive Detection K9 assigned to the police who will need to search your child’s school after a threat.

Takeaways for the Audience

Maricle hopes attendees learn that these K9s are not “scary.” He also hopes the audience will have a better general awareness of safety and best practices to take care of them in their time of need.

Advice to Those Starting Out in EMS

Although emergency services personnel don’t need a degree to currently perform their job, Maricle believes that a degree makes them a better, well-rounded person with better skills to grow on. He emphasizes that those new to the industry should not focus on an EMS degree.

“Instead pursue business, accounting or computer science. As you grow in EMS, there is a huge need for future managers and directors to be well-rounded,” Maricle said. “And pursue additional education higher than just your certification level.”

Outlook for the industry

Maricle says EMS will become more than just “calling the ambulance,” as it primarily is used now. EMS providers can be utilized in many more facets than currently realized.

“I see EMS evolving into a more multidisciplinary role over the next few years, such as Mobile Integrated Healthcare,” he said.

Don’t miss Rick Maricle’s session on EMS and Operational K9s on Thursday, May 11 at 1:40 p.m.

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