Pet Summer Safety
By Karla Rae
Here in Oregon the warm weather of summer calls for excursions to rivers, beaches, and mountains. I asked Dr. Andrea Duvall of South Clackamas Veterinary Service how we can best keep our pets safe during this season, whether spending more time at home with them or taking them outdoors with us.
If you take your dog with you on an outdoor adventure, keep in mind that they could be at a higher risk of being injured with lacerations or broken bones. Having a first aid kit is handy for you and your pet.
The most preventable injury to your pet is probably torn toenails. “Keeping your pet’s toenails clipped regularly can really help with this”, Dr. Duvall said. If you don’t feel comfortable clipping your pet’s toenails yourself, groomers and most veterinary offices will do it for you.
One positive side effect of people staying at home more because of COVID-19 is that they are spending more time with their pets. “More people are noticing subtle changes and bringing pets in for evaluations sooner”, she said.
On the other hand, the clinic is seeing more pets for behavioral issues. Dealing with this pandemic has been incredibly stressful for most of us and has fueled anxiety in our pets. “Animals can sense this anxiety and (it) can manifest in many ways…anything pet owners can do to relieve anxiety will help out their pets”, Dr. Duvall said. She added that there are some good online resources for mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Both indoor and outdoor pets can benefit from activities and objects that help bring out their instinctual behaviors and excite their senses. Some examples of environmental enrichment are puzzle toys filled with treats to eat, a cardboard box or paper bag to explore, or a soft blanket by a window where a pet can watch a birdfeeder. In addition, outdoor pets need a safe environment, access to water, and cool places to stay during the summer months.
Positive training is another option to keep your pet active and engaged. And again, there is some very helpful information online about providing positive training at home.
The summer fire season is around the corner and Dr. Duvall thinks it’s great to be prepared for a possible emergency. “Have a ‘go bag’ for your pets and yourself”, she said. Some things you may want to include are blankets, toys, a pet carrier, leashes, litter box, and a supply of food and water.
Be Safe and Have a Blast
by Karla Rae
Many of us will be celebrating the Fourth of July at home this year due to the state’s restrictions on large events in response to the corona virus pandemic.
Retired Fire Marshall Todd Gary talked to me about fireworks safety. “We need to be cautious and careful”, he said. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe from burns and unwanted fires.
1. Only buy fireworks that are legal in Oregon. Those are fireworks that, “…can’t fly more than 6 inches and they can’t move across the ground more than 3 feet”, he said.
2. Light your fireworks on a hard-surfaced area like gravel, pavement or concrete. Make sure you’re away from your house, grassy areas, and bark dust.
3. Always have a source of water nearby to put out an unwanted fire.
4. Have only the adults light the fireworks and have the kids stay back. He said, “Teach them good practices, that we light them and then get back.”
5. Don’t hold fireworks, except for sparklers – which can get extremely hot even when they’re out.
6.Have a bucket full of water that you can toss your used fireworks in and let them soak before you put them in the garbage can.
“Every year we have garbage can fires. And it’s from people doing the right thing – picking up their garbage, picking up their mess,” he said. However, hot days and low humidity are perfect conditions to possibly make used fireworks ignite fires in garbage cans.
Retired Fire Marshall Gary said, “The whole message is we need to be extra careful this year because we don’t have the opportunity to go to the big fireworks events…so chances are we’re going to do more at home…it’s the nation’s birthday, it’s July 4th, we want to celebrate, and fireworks are a part of that.”
Our Reporter Karla Rae caught up with the fire chief this week
Every second counts if an emergency vehicle has been called to your home.
When I talked to Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford on the phone in May, I asked him what we, as citizens, could do to make the Fire Department’s job easier. “The biggest issue, a lot of times… is having visible address numbers out at your driveway,” he said.
If you share a driveway, it’s important to have an address marker at every fork in the road so the emergency vehicle won’t drive the wrong way and lose precious time.
In addition to visible address numbers, ambulances and fire engines need clear driving access to your home. The driveway needs to be a minimum of 12-feet wide, and there has to be 20 feet of unobstructed space near buildings, “…so we can open our doors and get our ladders off…” said Chief Stafford.
The width of the driveway isn’t the only important clearance issue that should be considered – vertical clearance is also important. He said that, the driveway “needs to be at least 13 feet, 6 inches in height. That will allow us to get our equipment in without scraping the antennas off…”.
Having a clearly marked and easily accessible driveway is also helpful for any other kind of service that may need to come to your home.
Safety in the Details
Our Reporter Karla Rae caught up with the the fire chief a week ago
Many of us have spent more time at home than usual in the past few months, following the stay-at-home orders that were issued during this pandemic.
I spoke to Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford on the phone in May. When asked how their calls had changed after Oregon’s response to COVID-19, he said, “Everybody was staying home so the calls were down for a little while – as everybody has tried to stay home and stay healthy”But are our homes as safe as they can be right now?
According to Chief Stafford, the biggest safety issues in homes are tripping hazards and cooking accidents.
He talked about how we get used to how things are in our homes. But our visitors, especially parents or grandparents, don’t know about that pesky lump in an area rug or curled end on a throw rug. He said, “…you might want to just move that for the couple hours that they’re there so you don’t have to worry about someone tripping on it or it slipping”.
In the kitchen, your young children or grandchildren may be curious to see what you’re doing while you’re cooking at the stove. “They can always tip over a pot or something…and get scalded”, he said.
Although it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your home, you need to know what type it is, how to use it, and when to use it. Chief Stafford offered that the fire department can show you how to use it, or you can find instructional videos online.
If there is a fire in your home, “The caution is if you can put it out quickly. Otherwise, it’s much safer for you and your family to evacuate…”, he said.
Since, especially now, health and safety are a priority for us and those around us, it’s best to "pay attention to those minor little things that are a big help to general safety”, Chief Stafford said.