Colorado Floods: American Humane Association’s Red Star™ Rescue Team Mobilizes to Help Animal Victims
Charity offers tips on keeping families, children and pets safe from floods
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15 – As residents flee the dangerous flooding in Colorado, American Humane Association has mobilized its famed Red Star™ rescue team and is working to help the animal victims of the disaster.
Through the generous support of Mars Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs and WHISKAS® Food for Cats, American Humane Association, which has a nearly century-long legacy of animal relief, is reaching out with critical help by providing rescue and support services.
As part of a coordinated response to the flooding, Red Star was invited by Boulder County Animal Control to deploy as an approved responder to assist pets in need and to help provide emergency rescue operations. Among the many responders working feverishly to help those in need, including the innocent animal victims, Red Star is on the scene working with Boulder County Animal Control and Code 3 Associates.
“Floods are among the most terrifying and destructive of natural disasters,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “Fortunately, our Red Star team is well-trained and well-qualified to handle this kind of emergency so that we may save lives and reunite families.”
“Mars Petcare is proud to be helping by supporting the legendary Red Star rescue team,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs for Mars Petcare NA. “We’re working closely with American Humane Association to provide critical help where and when it is needed most.”
“Advance members of our team are already on the ground,” said Justin L. Scally, national director of emergency services at American Humane Association. “Our Red Star staff and volunteers will be working closely with local authorities and other agencies including Boulder County Animal Control and Code 3 Associates, as well as other local volunteers, shelters and humane societies to find, rescue, shelter and make sure animals separated from their families get home safely. ”
Tips to Help Before, During and After a Flood
To help protect families, children and pets before, during and after a flood, American Humane Association is also offering the following lifesaving tips:
Before the flood
- Microchip pets or put a tag on their collars with your name, address and cellphone number so they may be returned quickly in case you are separated from your pets.
- Prepare an emergency kit beforehand and evacuate your family and pets as early as you can along with, food, meds, water, leashes, and pets’ carrying cases.
- Plan multiple routes to higher elevations and a safe destination. Avoid routes near bridges. Have a safe walking route planned out, too.
- Make sure your animals are wearing collars and ID; take their vaccination papers and a photo in case you become separated and need to identify your pets if they are rescued to a shelter.
- Stock extra pet supplies in your car.
- Never leave children or pets home alone during a flood watch or warning. If water rises too fast you may not be able to get back to them.
- Don’t leave pets tethered or crated without you.
- Practice loading large animals into a trailer and driving it before you have to.
- If you can’t evacuate large animals, take them to high ground and do not tether them.
- Halter all horses before a flood. Consider letting them out of barns or stalls to fields and closing barn and stall doors so they cannot get trapped inside.
- Consider opening all interior pasture gates as a last resort.
- Put ID on animals and as a last resort consider turning them out.
- Maintain a waterproof box with halters, leads, meds, bandages, fly spray, food.
- Shut off all electrical breakers and close gas and water valves.
During the flood
- Stay tuned to emergency channels and heed instructions. If you are in a flood watch area, never leave your children or pets at home alone. Disasters can change quickly and you may not be able to get back home to them.
After the flood
- Use caution when returning home and walking on higher ground. Snakes, insects and other animals may have found refuge there.
- Be cautious about letting children or pets play in or drink ground water. Water may be contaminated.
- Be cautious about all food, which may have spoiled when electricity was interrupted.
- Keep your dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
- Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to your children or pets.
- Given pets time to re-orient. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet confusion or to become lost.
- Keep children and pets away from downed power lines and debris.
- Keep an eye on children’s emotional reaction to the crisis. Talk to children – and just as important – listen to them. Reassure them frequently that you, local officials, and their communities are all working to keep them safe and return life back to normal. Watch for symptoms of stress, including clinginess, stomachaches, headaches, nightmares, trouble eating or sleeping, or changes in behavior. If you are concerned about the way your children are responding long after the crisis is over, consult your doctor, school counselor or local mental health professional.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, too, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
For more news about the Red Star team’s emergency work during these disasters or to support their efforts to help animals in crisis, please go to www.americanhumane.org.
About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare US is the U.S. operations of the world's largest petcare company at the privately-held Mars, Incorporated. Mars Petcare US produces some of the world's most beloved pet care brands, including PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, CESAR® Canine Cuisine, WHISKAS® Food for Cats, THE GOODLIFE RECIPE® Brand and TEMPTATIONS® Treats for Cats. Headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., more than 2,100 Mars Petcare US associates make, sell and distribute its high-quality pet food from 13 manufacturing facilities located in communities across the U.S. For more information, please visit www.mars.com.
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Red Star™ Rescue Team
American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue Services was established in 1916 to save wounded horses on the battlefields of Europe during World War I. Since then they have been involved in virtually every major relief effort at home and around the world, including the Great Ohio Flood of 1940, Hurricane Katrina, the Joplin tornado, the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the 9/11 terror attacks, Superstorm Sandy and the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. With its famous 82-foot “Rescue Rig” and volunteer responders positioned throughout the nation, Red Star has rescued and sheltered more than 70,000 helpless and frightened animals in just the past five years.