Pet rescue kits donated to Yuma fire department

May 13, 2014

Yuma Sun



Thanks to the Yuma Kennel Club, the Yuma Fire Department now has the lifesaving equipment it needs to administer medical attention to your family’s pet during an emergency.
During a short ceremony Tuesday at Fire Station #1, representatives from the Fetch Foundation presented eight “Fido Bags” to the fire department.
Karen Cherland, president of the Yuma Kennel Club, said her organization recently purchased the pet rescue kits for YFD from the Fetch Foundation using donation money.
"We would like to get more, but we are starting with these eight," Cherland said. "It is something that was brought to our attention about a month ago, and we thought it was a good thing to get behind, because it is something to help animals at the scene of a fire or other emergency."
Gail Burch, a volunteer for the Fetch Foundation, said the organization's goal is to have a Fido Bag, which cost $145 each, on every firetruck in the country.
"It can be used for any type of emergency," Burch said. "We know that it is the best chance a pet would have of being saved from a fire and extending their life. And that is what is important."
The bags include three different types of oxygen masks for various types of animal muzzles and other rescue-related accessories such as gloves, a pillow case, water bags, leashes and a splint.
Paula Bensel, owner of For Da Dogs training services who attended the presentation with her seven-year-old Irish Wolfhound therapy dog named Cleo, said she was overjoyed the rescue kits are now in the hands of Yuma firefighters.
"I just think it is fantastic. We have been wanting and waiting for these for such a long time. Look at how many animals can now be saved," Bensel said. "If we can tell them there are dogs and cats in the house, or any other type of animal, it will help save them. They are part of the family; we want them to be saved also."
YFD spokesman Mike Erfert said firefighters have in the past successfully used conventional oxygen masks designed for humans when treating various pets (especially in cases of smoke inhalation), but this will increase the effectiveness of those lifesaving actions.
"We have lots of tools in our toolbox, but this is something that will definitely get put to use. Even though we wouldn't want to use it, it is great to have in case we need it," Erfert said. "Although our primary role is saving lives, that lifesaving can extend to an animals as well. When we are able to make a save like that, it is saving another member of the family."
Erfert said the rescue kits will be spread out among all the firetrucks throughout the department.
Two other Fido Bags were also being delivered to the Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department.

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