Disaster happen. And they happen year-round in all parts of the country. There’s no question that 2015 will be remembered for terrible, fires, floods and hurricanes.
Fortunately as a result of Katrina, in 2006 President Bush signed into law the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act which requires emergency preparedness authorities to include in their plans accommodations for household pets and service animals. States that don’t comply could be in jeopardy of losing disaster relief funds.
Recently, I was on a Google Hangout with Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator and we were chatting about being prepared for our pets too. Not only if we have to evacuate with our pets but also for accidents that can happen at home too.
Here is some relevant information. It’s a good idea to print it out and put it up somewhere prominent in the home as a regular reminder.
- Know the common natural disasters that can occur: Though pet owners should try to be prepared for all types of emergencies if possible, depending on which U.S. region you reside in, there are certain natural disasters that are more common than others. For example, hurricanes and cyclones are more likely to occur if you live near the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Coast, and tornadoes mainly hit areas like Kansas or Iowa in the Midwest. The West coast typically experiences wildfires and flash flooding can take place in certain areas across the U.S. – such as the Southwest – after large storms. If you live in a region where hurricanes are common, it’s important to understand the elevation level of your property and whether it is prone to floods. This will help you understand how your property will be affected when a hurricane hits and can help you prepare a plan in advance for your pets.
- Prep your home and pet: The first step to preparing your pet for a natural disaster is to make sure that he or she is wearing a securely fastened collar with up-to-date identification in case you become separated during a natural disaster. Pet owners can consider having their pet microchipped to assure that the pet can be identified and found via an electronic device as well. To prepare your home for natural disasters, talk to your local veterinarian who can provide waterproof, “Pets Inside” stickers that you can place on the front and back door of your house to alert rescuers that there are pets inside your home. In the case of a hurricane, try to cover all of your windows with permanent storm shutters or marine plywood and keep your pet away from them while the hurricane is passing through.
- Prepare a disaster kit: Your pet disaster kit should include basic pet essentials such as bottled water, cans of wet food, blankets, collapsible bowls, cat litter and pan, and a leash and collar. A one-to-two-week supply of food that your pet usually eats is an ideal amount to include in your disaster kit, however make sure to replace the food according to the expiration dates. Have photos of your pet on-hand in case you need to distribute pictures if your pet gets lost and make sure to include any important paperwork pertaining to your pet (e.g. vaccine records/medical history, veterinary contact information, medications list and emergency contacts). Finally, be sure to include a basic pet first-aid kit in your disaster kit. ( SEE MORE BELOW.)
- Develop an evacuation plan: Do your research and save precious evacuation time by identifying possible locations where you can take your animals should you have to evacuate. These locations can include animal shelters, veterinary clinics or even pet-friendly hotels where you and your pet can find relief until the disaster passes. Keeping your dog’s medical records on- hand is vital since some pet-friendly emergency relief centers require proof of vaccinations in order for your pet to stay there.
- Recruit friends and neighbors: It’s also important to consider creating a buddy system with your neighbor, family or friend who can look out for your pet in case you are not home when a disaster strikes. Add this person to your veterinarian’s emergency contact list of people who have authority to approve necessary emergency treatments if you can’t be reached. Also, identify places where you can leave your pet while you are out of town to avoid leaving your pet alone. Always let your pet sitter and back-up person know where your pet’s disaster kit is stored in case of an emergency.
TIPS FOR THE HOME
ALERT PEOPLE YOU HAVE PETS
It’s a really good idea to have a sticker outside your home to alert first responders as well as neighbors that you have pets that may need to be rescued. Paste it up. Alternatively, put it in an attractive frame and hang it by the front door.
THE DISASTER KIT
A first aid kit in an excellent idea to keep in your home as well as in your car. Kurgo have a great kit that includes an ice pack, sterile pads, tweezers, a tongue depressor emergency blanket and bandages. Recently I got the above bag ( see the photograph headlining this post) which also included a leash, two break-away collars, paw protectors, a flashlight, blanket and even a life jacket. Life jackets come in all sizes — and yes you can put them on a cat too if you have to! Don;t forget bottled water, food and copies of medical documents.
This post was sponsored by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.