By Mark van der Feyst
Every call we respond to has some hazard present that we try to identify, control and remove. Certain types of calls will present hidden hazards while others present obvious hazards. One such hazard that is sometimes very obvious is animals or pets.
Medical calls commonly have some interference from family pets. When the owner is experiencing a medical emergency, the family pet will sometimes be there to protect the owner from any further harm; this includes firefighters and EMS personnel. I can remember a few calls recently where family pets were in the way and had to be contained by the owner or animal control.
Animals also can be present at MVCs. One recent call had three dogs running around after the owner crashed his pick-up truck into a ditch. Although the dogs were not an immediate threat (they were not barking or approaching us), they still presented a hazard as they would get in the way of our operations.
If there are animals present when arriving at a call, be sure to neutralize the threat.