Statement issued Monday by the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana:
The American Red Cross is known for helping to keep families healthy and safe. It also wants to be known for keeping families’ four-legged loved ones healthy and safe. That’s why the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana has declared April as Pet First Aid Awareness Month.
During the month of April, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana will offer relevant information, classes and discounts related to the month’s pet first aid awareness initiatives. A community pet first aid class will be offered for $30 (normally $35). In addition, all pet first aid kits and reference guides will be discounted $5 during the month of April.
Two pet first aid classes will take place this month. They will be held Thursday, April 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana located at 1212 E. California Road in Fort Wayne (across from the Memorial Coliseum). The cost is $30.
Topics for the class include: how to handle urgent care situations, including wounds, electrical shock, eye, paw, and ear injuries; administering medications; managing breathing and cardiac emergencies; preparing for disasters with pets in mind; identifying symptoms and caring for common ailments and emergencies, as well as creating a pet first aid kit.
There are 44 million dog owners in the United States.
“We know pet owners enjoy a very special bond with their pets—they’re a part of the family. Just like with people, being prepared for accidents and emergencies with your pets can make a lifesaving difference,” said Erin McDonald, Director of Preparedness and Safety Services for the American Red Cross.
With spring and the likely possibility of severe weather upon us, the American Red Cross recommends that pet owners take the following steps to prepare themselves and their pets in the event of a disaster:
- Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. Service animals which assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of an evacuation, so plan ahead.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with your other disaster information and supplies. If you are alerted to an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations.
- Ask friends, relatives or others outside your area whether they could shelter your animals. If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster. Animal shelters may be overwhelmed caring for the animals they already have as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost
- Food, potable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and can opener
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets
- Pet bed or toys if easily transportable