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Santa Barbara County firefighters learn how to aid injured pets

Posted at 6:47 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 22:29:58-05

Santa Barbara County firefighters are going through a series of workshops teaching them how to handle and help injured pets and animals.

"Anything from the basics of assessing a pet's health at the given time and then to providing things like fluid and CPR and wound treatment. It just helps bridge that gap that otherwise a pet might suffer or even die in an emergency situation," said Isabelle Gullo, C.A.R.E.4Paws Executive Director and Co-Founder.

On Monday, the non-profit organization C.A.R.E.4Paws, alongside pet emergency hospital Advanced Veterinary Specialists, and dog trainer Brian Glen, hosted the first of 12 workshops.

According to Santa Barbara County Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Himmelrich, first responders are not typically trained on how to handle or provide medical attention to pets such as cats and dogs.

However, that will no longer be the case for Santa Barbara County firefighters.

"This will just give us another tool to be able to better serve the community and animals and get them to better care," said Himmelrich.

While the animals used in the training demonstrations are calm and easy to work with, that likely will change in the field when pets may be found in distress or pain.

"We are doing the best we can to prepare the first responders and firefighters for these different scenarios," said Gullo.

The two-hour workshops consist of hands-on medical training, including everything from knowing how to give a cat or dog oxygen to learning how to properly bandage an injured leg was covered during the session.

"I learned how to put a quick muzzle on a dog by using a leash and that would just make it safer if we are concerned about a dog potentially biting us while we are trying to treat it," said Himmelrich.

According to C.A.R.E.4Paws, pet first aid kits are in the works to be carried on fire engines and other emergency vehicles.

C.A.R.E.4Paws also has many other services they offer like free spays and neuters, as well as low cost veterinary care. To learn more, click here.

This was the fist of 12 upcoming workshops with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one out of four animals would survive a life-threatening injury if just one first aid technique was used before the pet were to reach a veterinary hospital.