Camy Thumwood is a Pet Safety & Disaster Preparedness Consultant which is passionate about pet safety education to help all pet parents provide their pets with a safer and happier life. She is the author of “Guide to Pet Safety Saving the Entire Family” Disaster Preparation and Reference and is the founder of Pet Alert. Pet Alert is a company dedicated to pet safety and fire life safety education that focuses on safeguarding first responders and animals during 911 emergency situations, and offers the “only” all-in-one Pet Alert Emergency Information System kit. Camy is also a proud member of Fire, Safety, Emergency Mgmt. and Pet Training Organizations such as IAFC, SEAFC, SAFC, CSAF, IAEM, IPAT, PPG, PSG. “Knowledge is power and your pet depends on you and your knowledge, especially in an emergency.”
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Dog Fire Life Safety TipsTips for Dog People1. It is also important that your neighbors know your dog’s name. 2. If the dog is loose in the neighborhood, it will respond better to someone who knows its name.3. Another good reason for your neighbors to know your dog’s name is to assist emergency responders. 4. If the firefighters get your dog’s name from neighbors it can help them interact with your dog and calm it down.5. All dogs should be taught to come when called. In case of fire, a solid recall command can be a lifesaver.6. The key is to practice calling your dog and reward the response.7. Make a point of expecting your dog to always come when called and keep these interactions positive. It’s important that the dog learns that coming to you means coming to a positive experience and not just going to the vet or leaving someplace fun like the park.8. Once your dog’s response to coming when commanded is consistent, you’ll want to train under distracting circumstances, too. 9. You will be glad you did should you ever need to persuade your dog to follow you through smoke, noise and flashing lights.10. Invest in a Pet Alert Emergency Information System kit to give proper info during a house fire.11. Practice fire safety by checking your smoke detectors monthly.
Cat Fire Life Safety TipsTips for Cat People1. Being able to locate your cat is critical in an emergency.2. Cats don’t usually come when you call, so you will need to know where yours hides when it is stressed and scared.3. Watch your cat to see where it goes when you turn on the vacuum cleaner, when strangers come to visit, or when you test your smoke alarm. Wherever your cat goes in these moments is likely where you will find it in the event of a fire.4. The first objective in a house fire is to get yourself to safety, but if you do have time to get your cat, be prepared. Learn to grab your cat by the scruff of the neck. This means latching on to the loose skin directly at the back of your cat’s neck. This will allow you to carry it without getting bitten. Once you’ve grabbed the cat, a pillowcase makes a great emergency carrier if you don’t happen to have a cat carrier available.5. Keep in mind, as well, that cats may run out of the house during an emergency and get frighten and lost.6. Be prepared by having a Name ID tag on your cat’s collar and have your cat wear it 24/7, as well as having your cat microchipped. 7. It may also help if your neighbors know that you have a cat, especially if your cat only lives indoors. It is also helpful if your neighbors are familiar with your cat and know its name and color.8. Note: Only two percent of cats brought to rescue facilities are ever reunited with their owners. 9. The more you can do to help facilitate a reunion with your feline friend, the better!10. Invest in a Pet Alert Emergency Information System kit to give proper info quickly.11. Practice fire safety by checking your smoke detectors monthly.
The simple facts; Why pets suffer the most from disastersAfter every natural and man-made disaster, we see and hear about countless misplaced and homeless pets of all types. Which is heart breaking and takes tolls on many pets, people and resources and the major factors that hinder pets and their safety are their parent’s attitudes about disasters. These are the biggest obstacles that take so many pet lives;1. Complacency. 98% of people think that a disaster will never happen to them or that they will have time to prepare when a disaster is imminent. In most cases, like fire or flood, your lead time will be minimal to retrieve needed supplies, valuables and your lives. You need to deliberately plan ahead and not let you and your pets become victims.2. Procrastination. Even if people understand the threats they may be involved with during a disaster, people just don’t know where to start or what to plan for, so they put it off for later. Putting not only themselves in jeopardy, but their pets that rely on them.3. Not taking action. Just talking about what needs to be done, does not solve the problem. You need to act. Know you must make those critical steps and educate yourself, get organized, rely on your preparation and your resources to stay safe and save lives.4. Abandonment. Because of not enough time and failed attempts to plan.
Disasters Info For Pet ParentsIn today’s busy life style, we tend to forget that we must prepare for the worst and in today’s news headlines that message is becoming even clearer. Disaster and medical emergencies do happen, and that is why all pet parents should take action not only for your family, but for your pets as well, as they depend on you for their survival.Here are ten top things you should do if you have pets before, during and after a disaster;1.Always, always have identification on your pet! Even if your pet has a tattoo or id chip they should wear an ID tag, don’t assume everyone knows your pet. The ID should include the Pet’s Name, Your Name and a Contact Phone Number (preferably your cell) and note “Needs RX”, if the pet needs medication daily or “Handicapped”, if your pet is blind or deaf or has a difficult physical disability like bad arthritis, etc.2.Use an emergency information kit like the Pet Alert Emergency Information kit that can help identify all your pets and all vital information needed to protect them at home or while traveling or in the event something happens to you.3.Always have emergency phone numbers available and near your home phone, in case of an emergency or medical need. So even if you can’t call for help, someone else can and will know whom to call. The phone list should include your veterinarian and emergency animal clinic nearest to your home, with your contact numbers (i.e., cell, work), plus someone that can care for your animals for more than a few hours, such as a friend or pet sitter.4.Do a pet safety check in and around your home, to help lessen immediate dangers. Check for unstable objects, top heavy book cases, dangerous chemicals that are not contained, etc. You can find a list and more information to keep your pets safe from everyday hazardous in the book, the “Guide to Pet Safety”.5.Know your pet’s vital signs so you know if they are ill or need help.6.Know what to do if your pet is injured and how to transport them correctly an injured dog is transported differently from an injured cat for intense.7.Prepare a Poisonous Incident and First-Aid kit for your pet and include a First-Aid book that is appropriate for your pet for proper information during a medical emergency.8.Prepare a Disaster Evacuation kit that includes all your pets and their needs for a minimum of 3 to 10 days. Make sure it includes any medication that your pet requires in you kit and health records.9.Don’t assume that your neighbors or friends will be available during an emergency to help you or your pets. You should also realize first responders will not know about your pets either and their presence may frighten your pet.10.The key to saving lives is to pre-plan so you know what to do “before, during and after” a natural or man-made disaster strikes in your area.11.To help you understand what is needed and how to prepare for all your pets easily, I encourage every pet parent to use the “Guide to Pet Safety” for the vital information it teaches you. It provides step by step instructions to complete the list above and much more to be pet safe. Educating yourself and keeping control of your pet during a disaster or emergency, not only can keep your pet safe but help emergency personnel and others trying to do their jobs.
Don’t Leave Your Pet Behind
Friends shouldn’t leave friends behind.We mustn't forget that we are our pets’ guardians and our pets rely on their pet parents for everything.Pet parents that love their pets should take these following steps to protect their pets:1.Recognize the scope of the hazardous concerns and their responsibility that lies on them for their pet’s health and safety along with theirs during emergencies and underlying environmental threats that can happen in their area (fire, flood, earthquake, hurricanes, etc.).2.Know the bare necessities that will help protect your type of pet in different type of situations. Remember the requirements for pet safety and evacuation are different, and all emergencies are not the same, such as a house fire vs. hurricane. You must consider the different types of planning that may be required for the pending danger and the type of pet involved. For example, it doesn’t make sense to prepare for transportation of horses if you have dogs.3.Implement the solution. Be pet alert, by preparing and educating yourself. Learn to protect your pet from every day hazards and what you’ll be involved with in the event of a disaster and most importantly what will be required after the disaster to keep you and your pet safe and healthy. Take action, help your pets be able to count on you in troubled times by being prepared and by knowing what to do. Remember, you are your pet’s guardian; for their life and their needs, all the time.4.Don’t forget “out of the ordinary”. Most people think of pet safety and disaster preparedness as being just for small household pets such as a cat or a dog, but many pets include reptiles, fish, and larger pets, such as horses. These types of pets take more preparation and may require foods that may not be available after the disaster, so be ready with supplies. Be responsible, these usual pets can cause much strife to our natural wildlife and environment during a disaster if let lose.5.Rehearse your disaster plan at least once a year to ensure that others who may be required to help implement it are aware of it and any changes, don’t assume. Make sure all required items in your pet disaster kit and pet first-aid kit are not expired, if so replace them. Prevention is the best protection.To help you understand what is needed and how to prepare for all your pets easily, the “Guide to Pet Safety” provides step by step instructions to complete the list above and much more on how to be pet safe every day. Educating yourself and keeping control of your pet during a disaster or emergency, not only can keep your pet safe, but help emergency personnel and others trying to do their jobs.
Precautions Dog and Cat Parents Should Know1.Watch out for the Counter-surfing: If your dog is tall enough on his hind legs to counter surf or is start enough to climb up by jumping on things remove stove knobs whenever you leave the house. The National Fire Protection Association states a stove or cook top is the number-one cause of fires started by pets. Your seen the commercial about “HOT DOG” the dog that jumps up for the pizza on the stove. Dog’s paws can hit one of the burners or buttons and turn the burner on. The heat or flame will then set fire to items on or near the stove.2.Watch out for the Einstein pet or “Curious pet” that unintentionally starts fires by knocking over lamps, candles, space heaters, or spread hot embers or ashes from fireplaces or ashtrays. Or by chewing on electrical cords, tangling themselves on items and pulling them down can cause a fire. 3.Make sure your pets are always wearing properly fitted collars (2 fingers lose) with personal identification, rabies and license tags, if required by your area. Identification is key, for a pet’s reunion.4.For people that don’t like jingling dog tags you can purchase embroidered dog collars or just put some clear packing tape on the tags to stop the clicking.5.Keep leashes near the door when you are not home, so first responders can use them to lead pets to safety. Healthy pet maybe waiting at doors and run out when firefighters come in, however will need to be contained. Providing a leash or carrier just in case, for first responders that can save time and lives.6.Provide animals with an escape route in the form of a pet door or for inside pets. If you create them or have caged birds it’s better to keep them near your front door for easy excess, and preferable not in the kitchen where most fires start.7.Note pets are more likely to be injured or to die in a fire when they are locked in a kennel or room.8.Remember smoke kills quickly and Dogs hyperventilate when excited. Birds have small lungs and have very little time in smoke before they are overcome.9.So even though we think our home is safe from accidents, everyone should be prepared and plan.10.Know where you will take or leave your pets.11.In case you are not home when disaster strikes, arrange in advance for a neighbor to check on or transport your pets. Make sure your neighbors have your contact numbers (cell phone, work, home, etc.).12.Remember pets may not be allowed inside human emergency shelters - have an alternate prearranged location to take your animals.13.Each animal should have its own pet carrier. Birds, rodents and reptiles should be transported in cages. 14.Cover cages with a light sheet or cloth to minimize their fear from traveling and strange surroundings. If you have fish keep appropriate container with lids available.15.Store vaccination/medical records, veterinary contact information, proof of owner- ship, a current photo, and a Disaster Preparedness Kit in one location.16.Keep your pet’s name on collar/container/halter with your cell phone number.17.Always take your pet with you during an evacuation But if You Must Leave Your Pet:1.Bring them indoors. Never leave pets chained outdoors!2.Use a room with no windows and adequate ventilation, such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other area that can be easily cleaned.3.Do not tie pets up!4.Leave only dry foods and fresh water in non-spill containers. If possible open a faucet to let water drip into a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water.
Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit
Prepare a Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit that contains enough of the items listed below for each pet;1.Pet carrier for each pet2.Picture of pet with yourself3.Copy of health records and rabies certificate (if required)4.Two-week supply of food and water5.Non-spill food and water bowls6.Medications and dosing instructions written down7.Cat litter box and litter8.Plastic bags for waste disposal9.Paper towels10.Disinfectants11.Leashes/collars/harnesses12.Blankets13.Toys and treats14.Newspaper15.Flashlight and extra batteries16.Pet first-aid kit
Smoke KillsSmoke inhalation is the number one cause of death in house fires! Being in a house fire is just like standing in the smoke from a campfire or BBQ but not being able to get away, within minutes you would start to choke and suffer from smoke inhalation. However, in a house fire the smoke is more toxic due to the gases released from other burning objects. Once you start to inhale the smoke, you are not getting enough oxygen for your body to function and depending on the density and heat of the smoke, it may take only 2 to 10 minutes for you to pass out or even die.Why? During a fire the fire burns oxygen, so as a fire continues to be active, more oxygen gets removed from the room and smoke puts too much carbon monoxide into your lungs which prohibits oxygen getting into your body. Only 15 minutes of straight smoke (0% oxygen) would kill you. In just 5-10 minutes it could cause permanent brain damage in humans.Just like humans, pets can die or suffer from brain damage depending upon the location of the house fire and how hot and fast it is burning. I have noted below just how little time your pet has before it suffers from smoke inhalation.Birds only have a few minutes due to their small lungs. Dogsusually get excited, panic and hyper ventilate during a fire, so they inhale smoke faster and have usually about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Catsusually hide and lay low where the smoke is less, so they have the longest chance to strive, usually about 15-20 minutes. Other Caged petsare at the mercy of their location and the type of fire. Especially dogs locked in crates during the day.Being prepared with proper information at hand can save both human and pet lives.
Why Window Stickers are Not Enough?Did you know on an average day, a phone call is made to an emergency rescue agency about every second in the US. Many of these emergency situations involve pets, which may need rescuing from house fires, building collapses, automobile accidents, unforeseen accidents (pet trapped or injured), and abandonment due to the pet parents’ medical emergency or death. Unfortunately, the statistics of pet’s dying in house fires have NOT change in 20 yrs. even though there are over 100 different types of pet window stickers sold and countless “free” stickers that continue to be handed out.Why? The reason behind this disparity is somewhat of a shocker: Emergency personnel such as firefighters, paramedics and police officers all report that they ignore these stickers. Some even call these window stickers a “hazard to emergency personnel” because they are faced with another “boy who cried wolf” situation. Why do they feel this way? Too often firefighters risk their lives searching for pets that weren’t there, following the urgent request of a “Help My Pet” sticker that was outdated or had been placed on the window by the previous tenants. Firefighters also cite the time element as a critical factor in the race to save lives, both human and animals and state “In emergency situations, time is of the extremely important and having all the pet’s details, especially their name, fear factors and handicaps is very helpful”. Pet parents must understand animals only have between 5 to 20 minutes before they suffer from smoke inhalation and die, depending on their lung size, type of animal and location in the fire, so being prepared is crucial to save a pet’s life, particularly with dogs that hyper ventilate when excited. Their pet’s survival counts on them, especially if their pet is trapped or unconscious in a house fire, auto accident.It’s not that pet parents are uncaring in leaving their animals open to potential jeopardy. Rather, most people simply do not fully appreciate how much their pets and animals depend on them as caregivers for their very existence and future. Pet parents must realize a window sticker alone is not enough and cannot fill these needs of first responders when time is running short.That is why the Pet Alert Emergency Information System (E.I.S.) kit was created and designed to meet their requirements. What is needed to help first responders during a 911 call that involves pets?The pet information must be up-to-date and accurate as possible, which is easily accessible at the scene of the emergency, which is not stationary or attached to a window pane, and should be readable in poor visibility, such as smoke and through a firefighter’s air mask. plus be able to be evacuated with the pets. The Information should include; what type of pet is in the house, auto or RV, how many, what location or room, if caged, any health issues, phone contacts and owners’ name, caregiver’s info, and each pets’ names in order to protect first responders and assist in the pet’s rescue. All information should not be visible from outside the home to prevent strangers from using it. All pet information should be portable so it can be taken with the animals, if evacuation is needed. To help first responders know what type of pet they are dealing with in an emergency outside the home pet information should be available during vehicle travel, especially during out-of-state trips.
Tips for Boarding Your PetTIP #1: Choose the boarding facility wisely!1.Ask your veterinarian or a friend for recommendations of local facilities.2.Look for online reviews.3.Ask facility if they require full proof of vaccination from all animals prior to boarding.4.Ask if all animals are required to be on flea and tick preventives.5.Ask what steps are taken in the event of an emergency.6.Ask for a tour of the facility.TIP #2: Contact your veterinarian’s office to make an appointment for your pet at least three weeks before your pet will be boarded.1.Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations.2.Make certain that heartworm, intestinal worming and flea treatments are current.3.Request a copy of your pet’s health records.4.Microchip your pet or make sure microchip information is up-to-date.TIP #3: Before your vacation begins, compile the following to leave with your pet’s caregiver:1.Vacation contact2.Emergency contact information of local friend3.Family veterinarian’s name, address and telephone number4.Prescription information with a written explanation of dosage requirements and administration times5.Prepared food for meals in easy-to-give packages6.Pet’s favorite toys and bedding are readily availableTIP #4: Consider the alternatives (if pet is elderly, afraid of strangers or nervous in different environments).1.Arrange for a friend or relative to pet sit.2.Ask your veterinarian about products available to calm your pet during stressful situations.3.If hiring a pet sitter, be sure to interview them and check their references.4.Also make sure that both your pet and the sitter are compatible.
Tips for Pet Parents about surviving a WildfireHouse fires are not the only fires to consider. Wildfires and forest fires happen and sometimes without much notice when it comes to evacuating. If you happen to see a forest or wild fire call 911 and report it, never assume that someone else has already done it and get prepared for an evacuation.Before the fire approaches your home:1.Wear protective clothing.2.Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft. Open the damper to the fireplace if you have one and close the fireplace screen.3.Close all outside attic, eaves, and basement vents, windows, doors, pet doors.4.Remove all flammable drapes and curtains, close the shutters, blinds or any heavy non-combustible window coverings that will help reduce radiant heat.5.Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source (knowing where these are should be in your disaster plan).6.Connect garden hoses, fill pools, hot tubs, garbage can, tubs and other types of containers that will hold water.7.Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that the doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out.8.Close all garage doors to discourage unwelcomed guests.9.Load your car with your evacuation kits, pets, family members, know where you are going and alert someone that you are on your way.10.Make your home more visible in heavy smoke by turning on all lights outside and inside.11.Evacuate and take your pets.If you are not able to evacuate:Stay in your home and close the windows and doors to keep as much smoke out of your home as possible.Precautions to consider in your plan:1.Have an escape route and have more than one way out of your home and off your property and practice with your pets.2.Know your pets’ hiding places when they get scared, this is where your pet will most likely to be and can save variable time.3.Secure your pet with a leash/halter or carrier in case they panic and run.4.Prepare emergency kits for your pet – include food, water, bowls, cat litter & pan, medications or prescriptions and vet paperwork. It is important to always include a photo of your pets in case they get lost, with vaccination records, and proof of ownership.5.Protecting your pets from fire is important. Don’t leave your pets and arrange for a safe place for them to stay during the evacuation period. Note most Red Cross shelters do not allow pets.Developing a family emergency evacuation plan that includes your pets and practice it. The key to dealing with fire is to be alert and prepared to save lives and valuable time.
“Helping to protect the pet you love, everywhere, every day”