Poll

Protecting pooch (and other pets) now part of emergency paradigm

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 13th, 2013

We’ve all heard the stories about the faithful pooches who smell smoke and save their families from burning to death by waking everyone in time to get out.

But what happens if good ol’ Rover (or Fido or Spot) ends up suffering from smoke inhalation, or has a weak heart that can’t bear up under the strain of emergency?

The Castlegar Fire Department has you and your pets covered, after a training session Monday night that saw staff and volunteers learning how to offer CPR and oxygen therapy to your family dog – or cat, or bunny, or hamster, or even birds.

“The equipment was donated to us by Wag’N 02 Fur Life, from a family Pet Care Centre out of Cranbrook,” said Fire Chief Gerry Rempel. “The oxygen masks are shaped a little differently, but a lot of the principals are the same.

“The respiration rate is a little faster, but you look for the same signs and symptoms as you would with a human casualty – it’s interesting.”

He said he’s encountered many situations in which pet first aid was required at the scene of a fire.

“We’ve come across pets in motor vehicle accidents, too,” he added, explaining the situation often is such that they don’t want to wait to get to a veterinarian before administering some sort of care. “Sometimes we have to take the pets home or to the fire hall until their families can come get them – we’ve had pets stay with us at the fire hall for a couple of days at a time,” he said. “It’s all part of what we do.”

He said the ultimate well-being of the patient is often impacted by the well-being of their beloved furry (or feathered) family members.

“It’s very important, especially at a traumatic time,” he said.

Also important is a nod to the spectacularly-patient animal “patient” who let the firefighters practice on him – fire department Capt. Brad Makortoff’s golden Lab, Marty, who calmly let the department test out equipment and techniques using him as (forgive the pun) guinea pig.

Categories: General

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