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Keeping Your Pets Safe in a Disaster


FOUR PAWS gives tips that can save your animal’s life

 

BOSTON - FEBRUARY 2017 – Just last week, Americans found themselves climbing through snow banks from a blizzard in New England, cleaning up devastating tornado damage in Louisiana, and evacuating from a dangerous damn overflow in California.

 

Fires, floods, hurricanes, and blizzards can be a danger not only to humans, but also to animals. Disasters can strike in any place, at any time, and often there is little or no warning. If you're responsible for a pet, take measures to protect your animals ahead of time in the event of a disaster; it could help save lives!

 

1. Make a plan. Know what realistic disasters may hit your area and create a plan on how you will react. Your disaster plan will determine how you will get out in case of an evacuation, where you would go, and who you will meet. Make sure all family and household members know the plan. You can never know who will be home or the first to be home to safely pack your pets for an evacuation.

2. Make a disaster kit. Include supplies for staying at home and for evacuations. See the lists provided by FOUR PAWS for details of what to include. You can find the FOUR PAWS Disaster Preparedness Checklists here

3. In an actual disaster, listen to warnings and instructions from the authorities on evacuating or remaining in place. Follow these instructions, do not stay behind if you are told to evacuate.

 

Planning for Your Pet BEFORE a Disaster Strikes

 

ID tag

If you are forced to leave your dog or cat during an evacuation, you should place a collar with an identification tag on your pet to ensure they can be quickly identified. Make sure that your pets are also microchipped and registered and all their details are up to date. This ensures that you and your pets can be reunited after the disaster if you are separated.

 

Emergency card

One very simple measure is to put an emergency card (often in the form of a decal or sticker) in a visible place, such as by the front door of your house or apartment. This card holds important information like the species, names, and number of pets in the household. When disaster relief rescue teams come to your home, an emergency card will help them quickly assess what animals need to be rescued, even if you are not at home.

 

Pet Disaster Kit(s)

Most government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strongly encourage each household to have a predetermined emergency plan (and an emergency bag for every member of the family) in case of an evacuation from their home, neighborhood, town or city. Your pets should be a part of this plan.

 

This kit includes:

    • Food and water for at least five days, food bowls, a blanket, trash bags to collect your pets' waste, a sturdy collar, harness, and leash. If your animal uses medication, make sure you store a supply of medication as well.
    • Up-to-date contact list including: Veterinarians (your local vet and two vets in opposite directions up to 50 miles away), friends or family you could stay with when you evacuate, pet-friendly evacuation centers or hotels, animal shelters or boarding facilities that could look after your pet, and local rescue and emergency authorities.
    • Documents such as copies of your pet’s identification papers and medical records should be kept in a waterproof protective cover in the kit.
    • Your kit should be stored in an easy-to-carry box in a safe and dry place.

 

Your disaster plan and kit will help you in determining how you will get out in case of an evacuation (which type of transportation, car, train, etc. and if they can take pets), and where you would go and meet (making sure again these places, whether a hotel or a relative’s home, does accept and have room for your pets). Lastly, making sure that all family and household members know the plan is important. You can never prepare for a disaster or know who will be home or be the first to be home to safely pack your pets for an evacuation. Leaving a clear plan in place is the most effective way to securing the survival and safety of each member of your family, pets included.

 

Additional advice would be to know your pets’ hiding places so you can easily find them in an emergency. Practice evacuating quickly and calmly, and in taking shelter at home away from doors and windows. Practicing will help your pet get used to the routine and will reduce their stress should a disaster occur.

 

In Case You’re Not Hom

If you are out of the house when a disaster strikes, you may not be able to return to your home and your pet. Make arrangements with neighbors or friends ahead of time to care for your pets. Be sure:

    • Your pets have met the person
    • The person has a key to your home
    • The person knows where your pet emergency kits are kept and is able to properly use the kit to care for the animal for a short time period.
    • The person knows where to take your pet in the event of evacuation and is able to do this if needed.

 

FOUR PAWS’ Experience

FOUR PAWS has dispatched emergency response and disaster relief teams to many areas around the world to help animals in need after natural disasters. We provide food, medical care, and our expertise to help rescue and care for animals and reunite pets with their families.

 


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