NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine a first aid kit designed specifically to protect against a potential terror attack.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s K-9 police force now has that, and it’s the first of its kind in the country.
In a recent training simulation, K-9 officer “Holland” was being carried out of harm’s way on a camouflage stretcher now in the hands of every MTA police dog handler every day.
“We don’t really know who is going to hurt us or what they will hurt us with,” MTA Police Lt. John Kerwick told CBS2’s Emily Smith. “That being said, we made our bag to handle the threat. For explosives, poisoning, a gas attack, or a gunshot wound.”
Think of it as an amplified first aid kit. The entire five pound pack was designed by Lt. Kerwick.
“We work in close quarters between train cars and aisles so it’s easy to flip the bag to the rear or front and walk without bumping in to things,” he said.
Officer Doug Joseph spends most of his days patrolling Grand Central Station with his K-9 partner, and says carrying the $800 kit gives him more confidence considering the nature of today’s threats.
“This is something that no one else is doing,” Officer Joseph tells CBS2. “As far as I know no one is carrying anything like this. Everyone has components but none has anything they can deploy with that gives them the options like this.”
The most important tool in the kit’s arsenal is Atrapeen, strategically placed in the easiest to grab pouch. It’s a shot for a potential chemical attack. The bag contains several doses and can be used on the K-9 as well as the human officer.
“It’s just like putting on an oxygen mask on the airplane if you have to,” Officer Joseph said. “If I keel over trying to give the shot I wouldn’t be effective, not going to help anybody.”
Dr. Paul McNamara says everything in the bag is safe for the dogs. The goal is to keep the K-9’s alive and working the scene if at all possible.
“They’ll likely never be needed, but if we are in that type of environment the K-9 handlers are now prepared to handle that kind of risk to their partners,” he tells CBS2.
CBS2 reports all of the money for the newly designed kits comes from a private grant. The medicines included can all expire but that’s all being watched by a doctor.
The MTA says they’ve donated several of their state of the art first aid kits to other law enforcement agencies with K-9’s such as the NYPD and the Suffolk County Police Department.