May 8th was the National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. Even though this day has come and gone it’s always important to be prepared for disasters. Who could forget hearing the news and seeing the photos surrounding the devastation after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 – that was a very pivotal moment in history. Why? Because when help did finally arrive, people were forced to evacuate without their pets. This storm left many upset people with no other option but to leave their pets without necessities like food, water, or medical attention. Since then, Congress has passed new laws so that your pets are now allowed to leave with you during an evacuation. Hurricanes are not the only disaster which you need an animal disaster preparedness plan – fires, floods and power outages are some of the more common events. Regardless of the type of disaster, the ASPCA American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) recommends that you be proactive and take the following 6 steps so to ensure that you and your pet stay safe. It’s recommended that if you evacuate, you take your pets with you – don’t leave them behind!
1). Order a Rescue Alert Sticker. This will allow you to inform rescue workers what type of pets you have, and how many are in your home.
2). Identify a safe place to stay. In case of evacuation, you’ll want to know where you can stay with your pet or to make arrangements with friends or boarding facilities outside of your immediate area.
3). Create an emergency supply kit. Include a three day water and food supply, travel crates, extra collars and leashes, pictures of your pet (in case your pet gets lost) and vet records.
4). Identify a temporary caregiver. This should be a trusted individual(s). In a situation where you are stranded and can’t get home to your pets – you’ll want a close friend or relative to have access to your house so they can care for your pets until your arrival home.
5). Plan for the worst case scenario. Make sure your pet’s tags and identifications are up-to-date. For a more permanent type of identification, you could consider micro-chipping your pet. Have an evacuation route planned out.
6). Take your geography and climate into consideration. Plan accordingly If you live in an area that is prone to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Know ahead of time which room(s) you will need to “hunker” down in and make sure they are easy to access and clean. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider filling up your bathtub so that you have access to water.
PHOTO: Courtesy of michael_baltic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)