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Red Paw mission

The Red Paw Emergency Relief Team is an emergency services, nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the American Red Cross, SEPA Chapter and other public and private disaster relief, social service, and animal welfare organizations to provide emergency assistance including emergency transport, shelter, and veterinary care to animals involved in fires and other residential disasters.

Our mission is to assist displaced pets and their people 24/7, free of charge and to ensure that ALL family members are taken care of during a disaster in their home.

Our objectives

  • To provide emergency services to animals displaced by disaster situations, including fires, flooding, gas leaks, building collapses, hurricanes, etc. and to keep families together
  • To impart education on best practices and guidelines concerning responsible pet care including the importance of veterinary care, training, exercise, socialization, and companionship
  • To promote community awareness of fire prevention and emergency preparedness guidelines to include pets
  • To uphold accountability and maintain a presence in communities and keep our supporters informed

Why we are needed

  • 63% (69,000,000) American families have pets
  • On average there are 3-4 residential fires in Philadelphia every day
  • There are resources available to support families (people) in disaster situations
  • Nothing exists locally to proactively rescue animals in residential disaster situations
  • Animals are often left homeless or perish

How we carry out our mission

We are a 501(c)(3) emergency services nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the American Red Cross SEPA Chapter and other public and private businesses, disaster relief, social service, and animal welfare organizations to provide emergency transport, shelter, and veterinary care to animals involved in residential fires and other incidents. We work within a network that includes veterinary care facilities, boarding facilities, kennels and training facilities, animal rescue groups, and fosters in Philadelphia and surrounding counties to ensure ALL family members are assisted.

Currently, 90% of our calls are from the American Red Cross. We also receive calls from Salvation Army Disaster Services, Animal Control, PSPCA, other rescues, and the clients themselves. In 2013 we were added to the City of Philadelphia’s Emergency Response Plan. However, any individual or organization affected by disaster can call us 24/7 for assistance.

Once we are informed a pet has been displaced by a disaster incident, a call gets sent out through One Call Now, an emergency call system that blasts our volunteers who have said they wanted to be placed on our 24/7 emergency response team, stating what the needs are at the scene, for example emergency transport and vet care. The appropriate Red Paw responders report to the scene, meet with the family or individual, explain the waivers and paperwork, assess the animal, and then proceed to transport the animal(s) to an appropriate facility depending on the animals’ needs, for example an emergency vet, foster, or emergency shelter.

Red Cross Mission Moment:
Red Cross & Red Paw Darby fire response and the many things Red Cross does behind the scenes

Courtesy of the American Red Cross


Red Cross Mission Moment:
Red Cross & Red Paw response to Multi home fire on Memphis St

Courtesy of the American Red Cross