What is a disaster? It can be a flood, hurricane, snow storm, tornado, disease outbreak or even a terrorist attack. It can be an evacuation or a major power outage. Evacuation can last for a few hours to permanently.
Your whole family needs to have a disaster plan and be prepared. Being prepared will help you stay calm and enable you to keep everyone safe. If you have pets you must include them in your plans. Always remember if it is not safe for you to be somewhere it is not safe for your pet. Take your pets if you evacuate! Leaving them in an empty house is very dangerous.
To be ready for a disaster just takes a little advance planning.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Have a Plan
Many emergency shelters will only allow you to bring service animals. Know in advance which shelters in your area are pet-friendly so you can plan accordingly. Often motels or hotels are happy to accommodate both you and your pets. Perhaps friends or relatives would be willing to keep your pet in an emergency.
You may be forced to leave your pet in a pet shelter. Find a good choice in advance. You can ask your Vet, your local office of emergency management or local animal shelters for advice. Research all of these things now before you need them and keep your list where you can find it quickly.
Pack a Pet Survival Kit
You need to have:
- A weeks supply of food and water
- Any medications your pet uses
- Food and water bowls
- A manual can opener
- An extra leash and harness
- A crate for cats or smaller dogs
- Garbage bags, gloves and paper towels for clean up
- Kitty litter for cats
- Extra toys
- A first aid kit
- A copy of all your pet’s records including vaccination records, current pictures, any ID information if they have been micro-chipped, and any other medical records
Consider micro-chipping your pet to easily locate them in a disaster. Also ensure your pet’s identification tags are up-to-date with your contact information. Include a cell phone number or the number where you plan to stay during the disaster.
Keep your disaster kit ready and easily portable at all times. Make sure to change food and water supplies every few months so they stay fresh during storage. Planning and preparation for a disaster will ensure you and your pet come through it safely.