Saturday, April 10, 2021

Marco Island Fire Rescue Launches Emergency Pet Care Program

Submitted Photo | Firefighter/Paramedic Heath Nagel with one of his dogs, Georgia Mae.

Submitted Photo | Firefighter/Paramedic Heath Nagel with one of his dogs, Georgia Mae.

By Maureen Chodaba

The Marco Island Fire Rescue Department invites you to join them on April 17 at 9 am at the dog park at Frank E. Mackle Community Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace as they launch the Emergency Pet Care Program. This program, a complimentary service for the people and pets of Marco Island, is one of the first of its kind.

The idea began as the brainchild of animal lover Firefighter/Paramedic Heath Nagel. In his work, Nagel has often come across people who worry about their pets if EMS determines that the pet owner needs to go to the hospital. The Emergency Pet Care Program will utilize a pet emergency card system similar to the File for Life program for humans. The card will be filled out by the pet owner with detailed information about the pet, including the veterinarian, a list of medications the pet may be taking, and contact people who the owner has designated to care for the pet in the owner’s absence. The program also hopes to initiate a foster care program where Marco Islanders will volunteer to care for the pet if none of the listed contacts are available. The foster program will offer a great way for all animal lovers to participate, even if they do not have a pet of their own at the time.

Nagel and Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Bowden will be on hand at the presentation in the park to demonstrate the actions of our Fire Rescue Department in emergencies involving pets. These utilizations include dog CPR and Pet O2 masks. In the future, the department hopes to initiate a sticker program, similar to the tot finder program. An indicator could be placed near the front door of a home, alerting first responders to the fact that there is an animal inside that may need to be rescued if safety permits.

Firefighter Bowden, Marco Island Fire Rescue Public Education Coordinator, looks forward to this new directive. He says of Nagel, “Heath was an instrumental part of the Emergency Pet Care Program coming to existence and is one of those guys that is always thinking of ways to help the community. It’s refreshing to work with a guy who is so committed.”

Be sure to mark your calendar for this special event on April 17. Snacks for the dogs will be served! All people and pets are welcome!

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