Red Cross app helps pet owners through emergencies

Published: Jan. 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 6, 2014 at 6:18 PM EST
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Source: American Red Cross
Source: American Red Cross

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Disaster strikes and you need to evacuate. Or during an emergency your pet escapes or is injured. Now the information you need could be in the palm of your hand.

The American Red Cross has developed an app that provides pet owners with information they need when disaster or emergency strikes. It includes emergency action plans if evacuation is necessary, links to pet-friendly hotels and shelter information.

"It's got travel tips, winter tips," said Stephen Hudson with the American Red Cross. "It's a very robust app."

Hudson says the Red Cross developed the app after learning pet owners often refused to evacuate disaster areas because they didn't want to leave their pets.

"So many people we've seen through natural disasters, after natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, tornadoes, ice storms, whatever it is, when people need to evacuate their homes, because a pet is such a large part of their family, people have chosen not to evacuate and put their own lives in danger because of a pet," said Hudson.

"The Red Cross thought there was a need for not only parts of this app, which show people where there's a pet-friendly hotel if they need to evacuate, also there's great parts of this app like first aid for pets," said Hudson.

If a pet has been injured, the app has educational videos and information on first aid, and links to emergency pet care facilities.

"It's very user-friendly," said Hudson, who used the app to upload information about his dog. "I was blown away with the amount of information that's in the app."

Pet owners can upload their pet's photo and identification information in case a pet becomes lost.

"It has in here your pet's information, if they're on any medications, what your veterinarian's phone number is, emergency contact, things like that," said Hudson. "If your dog has a microchip or your cat has a microchip it actually has that information on there, so if you become separated from your pet, you actually have a photo of your pet."

It is one of several apps the Red Cross offers to help people prepare for and deal with a disaster or emergency. Hudson says people like the app so far.

"We've had a lot of nice people here in South Carolina who have been very appreciative of the fact the Red Cross put this out," Hudson said.

The app costs $.99. To download the app, click here, or download it through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

For more information about the American Red Cross and other educational tools, click here.

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