Duct Tape and Maxi Pads to the Rescue


Deuce was much happier after resourceful emergency responders crafted boots for his paws. Photo courtesy of the Washington State Animal Response Team.

Recently, the Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART) responded to a call from a dog owner whose two dogs—a pitbull named Petie and a Rottweiler named Deuce—had become exhausted after hiking up a rugged mountain road. The dogs' paws were swollen with cuts and blisters. Each dog weighed about 80 pounds, so the owner and her friend weren't able to carry them back to the trailhead.

An all-volunteer nonprofit organization based in Enumclaw, WASART helps animals and their owners through disaster preparedness, education, and emergency response. After getting the call, WASART members arrived with emergency supplies. It was shortly before midnight, so they spent the night before attempting the 90-minute trip back to the trailhead.

At first, rescuers began carrying the dogs, but after a grueling three-quarter mile trek through snow and boulder fields, it became clear the two teams wouldn't be able to carry the dogs all the way out. Lo and behold, amongst the emergency supplies were maxi pads and duct tape and, as you can see in the photo, this is what rescuers used on the dogs' paws. After a few gingerly steps and a little encouragement, the dogs were able to make it back to the trailhead on their own paw power.

Resourcefulness rules the day! We've all heard the adage, "Necessity is the mother of invention." That was certainly true in this case! You never know how simple, everyday items can be used when you're in a pinch—or in a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month. Take a look around your home. What everyday items do you see? Magazines? Combine those with a couple of neck ties and you have a handy way to splint a broken arm. How about a pillow case? It makes a great carrying sack if you can't find a "real" bag. What about a large garbage bag? Instant makeshift raincoat—with a few strategically-placed holes.

How about a coffee filter? By day, it can filter coffee grounds. By disaster, it's a makeshift dust mask. Or, it becomes an emergency sign when you write on it with pen or marker, pointing in the direction where people are meeting or where you are staying. Or, use it as kindling to light a fire. Or, dress an injury.

All of these ideas and more can be found in the What to Do to Make It Through Build a Kit on a Shoestring Budget video. Available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, it's chock-full of easy ways to "raid your own home" for emergency supplies.

To read more about about the dogs, Petie and Deuce, see the August 2013 issue of WASART News.

Debbie Goetz is an emergency preparedness training specialist with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management. For more information on how to get prepared, visit www.makeitthrough.org or contact the Seattle Office of Emergency Management (206-233-5076 or snap@seattle.gov).