Submitted by UAN volunteer Shari Neal of Marion, Iowa
A massive fan keeps a tornado evacuee cool
Each day hotter than the next. Heat indexes approaching and passing 100 degrees. What happens to animals and volunteers under stress and unable to cool off? The UAN volunteers who came to Joplin, Missouri to help the animals displaced by the May 22 tornado have been amazed by the hard work and awesome ingenuity of the folks working to keep us cool while the temperature only goes up outside.
Cats kept cool with ice packs
For days, everything was done to keep the cat and dog shelters from becoming unbearably hot for animals and volunteers. These efforts included cooling the cats with chilled towels and ice packs, smaller fans blowing across pans of ice on individual animals and huge fans blowing on sections. Enormous industrial air-conditioning units were trucked in and piped cold air through yard after yard of portable ducts to different sections of the buildings.
A dog takes an ice bath
Dogs were given ice in their water bowls and some in their cages just for fun. The isolation dogs got frozen two-liter bottles to lay against and play with. When the dogs took their walks, they got the opportunity to splash in a wading pool with or without ice. When finished with playtime in the pools they would often stop for a few minutes in front of the air-conditioner before returning to their cages.
UAN volunteer Debbie Feguson cools off a kitten with a wet towel
For the volunteers it’s been frequent breaks, iced towels for our necks, fans on work stations, cooler after cooler of ice water and Gatorade, plus strict rules on how much to drink and a safety officer keeping us alert to the danger signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
After days of trying everything humanly imaginable to outsmart nature, we raised the white flag and gave up trying to cool a massive warehouse. With the help of many great minds, a plan was devised to combine the hottest shelter and the coolest shelter in the smaller building with all of the air conditioning trained on it.
The big move went off without a hitch and today the dog shelter was about 20 degrees cooler than it had been and volunteers and dogs were LOVIN it! Dogs were calmer and happier and more alert. The same could be said for volunteers! Comfortable living conditions are an important part of humane sheltering.