Foundation is Giving Firefighters the Tools to Save Pets

It all started with “Fido,” a firefighter’s pet.

Residential fires are terrifying – and often deadly – to both people and their pets. It’s estimated that more than 40,000 companion animals lose their lives in home fires each year.

But an Arizona firefighter designed an emergency bag for pets, named it the “FIDO Bag” (after his own dog), and a new tool in the arsenal to help save pets was born.

Marie Peck, founder of the fetch Foundation, located near Scottsdale, Ariz., said today, her 501 (c)(3) foundation provides FIDO Bags to fire departments, first responders, and search and rescue teams, nationwide.

Peck and her family have been involved in training dogs for search and rescue teams for years. Her brother, a fire chief, introduced her to the firefighter who created the FIDO bag (which is used for not only dogs, but cats and other companion animals), and Peck felt the kit was such a great idea, it needed to be shared with other groups.

To date, 635 of the kits have been given away, nationwide.

What makes the FIDO Bags unique is the combination of tools contained neatly in a stowable, sturdy bag.

While some fire departments may have oxygen masks for pets (human O2 bags don’t provide a good enough oxygen ‘seal’), the FIDO bag provides much, much more: burn sheets, big bottles of saline, bandages, humane restraints and other items.

FIDO bags also come in different sizes, for different users. For example, bags for search and rescue teams come stocked with medications and sutures, as well as bandages and other items. Any time a search and rescue team comes to train with Peck at her facility at Cave Creek, Ariz., she said they see the bags and want one. And the fetch Foundation ensures they go home with bag in hand.

All of this is made possible through donations. Individuals and groups can donate any amount. In some cases, organizations and businesses sponsor or “buy” bags that are donated to a specific fire department; in those cases, the donor’s name is embroidered on the FIDO Bag. Recently, a local 4-H Club raised enough money to donate a bag to a department, Peck said.

Thanks to all those donations, the FIDO bags are provided free. Peck also ensures that the groups receiving the emergency bags also get the training to use them. In addition, donors can request a specific department receive the life-saving tools. So rather than being limited to the Scottsdale area, the bags can (and have) been given out across the country.

With July 15 recognized as “National Pet Fire Safety Day,” it’s a good time to think about how to help first responders help your pets.

When it comes to home fires, firefighters have three priorities: People… Pets… Property. In that order. So as much as we love our pets, we must recognize that a firefighter’s first and most important job is to rescue any human occupants, then ensure that a structure is safe enough for firefighters to re-enter.

Once people are safe, firefighters will do their best to rescue pets.  And with the fetch Foundation’s FIDO Bags, firefighters can (and do) save the pets we love!

For more information on the fetch Foundation, see http://www.thefetchfoundation.com/ or http://blog.sergeants.com/2012/12/28/pe_safety/

Thanks to the FIDO bag, this dog, found unconscious in a home filled with smoke, made a full recovery. Firefighters from Glendale, Ariz., responded to this February 2013 fire. Photo courtesy of Marie Peck.


Thanks to having a FIDO Bag on hand, this cat was successfully resuscitated after receiving oxygen from a firefighter in Peoria, Ariz. Photo courtesy of Marie Peck.


Donations from individuals, businesses, organizations and families like the Waldrop family (shown above with members of the Phoenix Crisis Response Team and volunteers from the Fetch Foundation) are what make FIDO Bags possible. Monetary gifts allow the bags to be donated free to first responders and search and rescue teams. Photo courtesy of Marie Peck.

-Feature Photo: Thanks to the Fetch Foundatioin’s FIDO bags, companion animals stand a fighting chance of being successfully treated for injuries after fires. Photo courtesy of Marie Peck.

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