By Kristyn Yano, American Red Cross, Honolulu Chapter
HONOLULU – March is Red Cross Month and it’s a great time to start thinking about disaster preparedness for your family, including your pets. Pets are an important part of many families, and the new Red Cross Pet First Aid App puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.
The 99 cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies.
“Pet owners learn how to recognize health problems, respond to emergencies, and when to contact their veterinarian,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO, Hawaii Red Cross. “The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies.”
Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls and what to do for cold- and heat-related emergencies.
Other features in the app allow pet owners to:
* Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.
* Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.
* Use “click-to-call” to contact their veterinarian.
* Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the “animal hospital locator.”
* Locate pet-friendly hotels.
* Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.
History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans.
The mobile app is a great resource, however the Red Cross encourages dog and cat owners to also attend Dog and Cat First Aid classes to practice their first aid and emergency response skills and receive feedback. Go to redcross.org/take-a-class for information and to register for upcoming classes.
The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. The Pet First Aid App and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.