LOUISVILLE – Louisville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department members have saved the lives of many humans with their work over the years.
They will now be equipped to help emergency victims that have fur, claws or tails on them.
Members of Louisville’s department received training Nov. 19 with new Fido Bags they received earlier this fall. The Fetch Foundation and Louisville Volunteer Firemen’s Auxiliary donated five Fido Bags to the department. Emergency workers will be able to use the bags to rescue and protect animals during traumatic events.
The Fetch Foundation is based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has delivered Fido Bags to scores of fire and rescue departments across the nation. Marie Peck founded the organization in February 2010 with the original intent of providing shelter for homeless dogs that had been abused or neglected. She soon realized that animals also needed help when they experienced injuries in car crashes or smoke inhalation and burns from fires.
“In cases such as fire or automobile accidents, firefighters need special tools on their trucks to save your four-legged friend’s life just as they do you,” Peck said.
The Fetch Foundation estimates 500,000 pets and animals are affected by fires each year in the United States. Peck came up with the idea of providing Fido Bags to emergency workers to provide medical attention to pets at the scene of an accident or fire. She said the organization’s goal is to have a Fido Bag in every fire and rescue station in the country.
Each Fido Bag is equipped with a special breathing apparatus that allows animals to receive oxygen. These oxygen masks are designed to fit long snouts of pets.
Louisville’s bags also contain portable water dishes, bandages, wound ointments and leashes for animals. Gloves are available for emergency workers to use to protect them from claws of pets.
Longtime Cass County veterinarian Dr. Scott Lubben led members of Louisville’s department in the Nov. 19 training session. He demonstrated the proper way for emergency workers to hold and restrain both dogs and cats during traumatic events. These techniques will allow humans to avoid being bitten or scratched by animals that may be scared.
Lubben also showed volunteers the proper techniques to provide splits to injured animals. A third part of the training session detailed the correct way to administer rinsing saline and other life-saving fluids to animals if necessary.
The Fetch Foundation donated three Fido Bags to Louisville’s department. The Louisville Volunteer Firemen’s Auxiliary raised additional money from its annual plant sale. The group used those proceeds to purchase an extra two bags for the department.
Each rescue squad and fire pumper truck in the Louisville station now has a Fido Bag attached with it. One squad also has an additional bag in case multiple animals need help at the scene of an emergency.
Peck said she was happy to see Louisville’s department receive the new equipment. She said the Fido Bags would help local crews save all living creatures from tragic outcomes.
“It is especially gratifying to see equipment go to first responders that seek us out and understand the value the Fido Bag program brings to the community they serve every day,” Peck said.