By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- Pets are certainly part of the family for many Space Coast residents, and when disaster strikes, it is important to make sure each family member is taken care of.
In the event of an emergency, the American Red Cross launched the "Pet First Aid" application for iPhone and Android users on Thursday, Jan. 16, ensuring pet owners, in Brevard and beyond, have the best tools possible to keep their furry friends safe. The application is currently available in the Apple App Store for iPhone and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
"Pets are an important part of many people's lives, and the new American 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," said Karen Hagan, CEO of the American Red Cross's Mid-Florida Region.
The "Pet First Aid" application gives iPhone and Android smartphone users instant access to expert information, so they can learn how to maintain their pet's health and what to do in the event of an emergency.
"Benefits include knowing what to do for burns, car accidents and falls, as well as cold- and heat-related emergencies," Ms. Hagan said.
The application also allows pet owners to create a pet profile, including tag I.D. number, photos, a list of medications and instructions; use the lists of early warning signs to learn when to contact a veterinarian; use "click-to-call" to contact a veterinarian; and find emergency pet-care facilities or alternate veterinarians, with the "animal hospital locator."
The application also allows users to search for pet-friendly hotels and test their knowledge with interactive quizzes, while earning badges that they can share on their social networking pages, along with their favorite pictures of their pets, Ms. Hagan said.
In an area where hurricanes are common, history shows that many Brevard County residents choose not to evacuate during disasters, as they did not want to leave their pets behind.
The Red Cross "Pet First Aid" application provides users with resources to help include pets in their emergency action plans.
"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," Ms. Hagan said.
At press time, Ms. Hagan said there are no plans to expand the application for download on other smartphone devices.