Donation allows urgent care for pets
By LPR Staff
Beginning at the earliest of ages, people are taught that smoke rises in a fire, and that staying low and getting out of a burning building will keep them alive. Often, they are encouraged in the same lessons to allow pets to “fend for themselves,” with instructors claiming that instinct will take over and encourage the domest
icated companion animal to save its own life. All too often, though, the same panic descends on the animal as overtakes his human counterpart, and the beloved pet is subject to injury – or even death.
According to Cheryl Schneider, Director of Lockhart-Caldwell County EMS and well-known animal lover, often pets, rather than belongings, are the first concern of victims of structure fires.
“In many incidents, “please save my pets,” is the first plea firefighters hear when arriving at a scene,” Schneider said. “And many times the first thing a fireman encounters after entering the burning structure are the unfortunate pets left behind who did not make it because of smoke inhalation.”
Thanks in large part to a donation made in memory of Schnieder”s sister, Jo Brizindine, firefighters and rescue workers may now be able to help those pets.
Lockhart Cause for Paws recently purchased and donated five sets of new pet recovery equipment oxygen masks that will soon become standard equipment for local fire trucks and ambulances, Schneider announced last week. The masks are designed to provide oxygen to animals, specifically large and small dogs and cats that are rescued from a structure fire.
“Recovery oxygen masks for humans have been a factor in saving lives for years,” she said. “Now pet oxygen masks are available as well on the fire and EMS vehicles. While human lives will always be our first responsibility, many times the humans are fine but their pets did not fare so well especially in the incident of a structure fire.”
When personnel are available on a fire scene, emergency services will now also be able to provide care for the pets that are likely to be very important members of the families involved in the tragedies.
Recently Elaine Acker of Pets America hosted a Pet First Aid training session in Lockhart for private citizens as well as members of Lockhart EMS and Lockhart Fire Department, Cause for Paws and the staff of the Lockhart Animal Shelter. The class covered basic pet emergencies such as poisonings, snakebites, injuries, allergic reactions as well as Pet CPR and choking.
A second Pet First Aid class is being planned for September and will also be open to the public along with emergency workers and animal services personnel. Anyone interested in attending the class should contact Schneider at (512) 398-7320.