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What would you do with your dogs in an emergency?

I recently attended a BART (Basic Animal Rescue Training) workshop put on here in Dubuque, IA.

The mission statement for BART is “to empower firefighters and other emergency personnel with the training, knowledge and equipment necessary to safely and effectively address the needs of animals encountered in emergency situations, in order to help preserve human health, safety and well being.”

The course discusses the importance of the human-animal bond and points out to first responders how, if possible, their response to helping the animals in emergency situations also saves lives. A high percentage of humans in emergency situations will refuse to leave the scene or will return to the scene and place themselves in danger if their pets are in jeopardy.  I know I would probably be one of those persons that would try to “go back in” if my dogs were in danger. Of course this makes the job of the emergency personal even harder and puts them at risk too.

The course not only educates about the value to human life if intervention is possible, but also covers animal first aid. And the main emphasis is on basic safety techniques for capture and restraint of pets. Not always an easy task when an animal is frightened and in a life threatening situation. I was very pleased to be invited to attend and it got me thinking about how prepared am I IF something sudden required me to evacuate my home in a matter of minutes?

The idea of PPP when required to leave your home was mentioned. This meant take your Purse, Prescriptions, and Pets…but what would I need for my pets if I had to be away for a few days or heaven forbid, my house burned down?  What essentials would I want for a few days and how could I gather them quickly?

My solution was to devise a “kit” that I could grab on the run. Here’s what’s in it:

Extra leashes

Roll of poop bags

Gallon zip lock baggie of dry kibble (which I intend to switch out each month to keep fresh)

Collapsible dog bowl & bottled water

Vet – vaccination Records (so in case I have to check them in at a kennel I have a copy available)

A couple chew toys (to help keep them occupied since I imagine life would be turned upside down for a bit)

None of my dogs are currently on medications but if they were I’d add a weeks worth of their meds as well. I bought a small tool box and put everything inside. If you don’t keep ID tags on your dog I’d also suggest you put in ID tags and attach them as soon as you are all clear of the danger. If you are separated you want them tagged. I love this product for easy on and off access of dog tags.

None of us like thinking about those events that seem unthinkable…but fires, tornado’s, flash flooding, chemical spills…they are all real and they happen to real people everyday. Being prepared is always better than being unprepared. So in an emergency I would grab, my purse, my pets and my toolbox. (and probably my I-pad) 🙂

If anyone has other tips they’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

You can read more about BART’s story here. As the partner of a firefighter and as an animal lover, I applaud Dr. Olsen and her team of volunteers for starting such an important organization.