It is always surprising to hear how few people plan and prepare for the many types of disasters that can befall us. With a very high percentage of the US population living near the coast, many people are in zones of tropical cyclones in the east or gulf coasts and seismic events to the west. Tornados, Floods, Blizzards, Earthquakes Wildfires and an occasional Tsunami and Volcanic Eruptions are just some of nature’s reminders that we are not the masters of all we survey. Far fewer prepare for their unselfish pets. If you are in danger, so are your pets – don’t leave them behind.
Supplies – have a clearly labeled Pet-Go Bag – already made up. Pack semi-perishables at the top so you can rotate through them and replace with new. Contents:
Pet food is the obvious first item on the list, as well as water and needed pet medicines– enough for a few days to a week. Rotate the water bottle and food and medications every few months into the regular feeding flow, and replace with newer product. Don’t forget a dish. Next, have sanitation supplies, litter, litter box and disposable garbage bags for clean-up. Cages or leashes will help keep your pet from running away. Have a photograph of them in case they do, to aid in searching. Cage or carrier liners are a good idea. Comfort toys and blankets can also make life easier for everyone.
Identification - In addition to collar tags, which might not be practical for some pets, your veterinarian may be able to micro-chip your pet. It is a small chip implanted near the shoulder that can be easily scanned by most vets and animal shelters. The SPCA can provide Pet Rescue Alert window stickers for the house for emergency responders. Put the types and number of pets in your home and the name/phone of your veterinarian on the sticker. If you do have to leave suddenly but remember, write “EVACUATED” on the sticker before you leave. See www.aspca.org for the form to send in to obtain stickers.
Where to go? If you do have a disaster of any kind, where will you go? Will they accept pets? Are there nearby kennels? Have a plan for heading in each safe direction and know where the facilities are located ahead of time. You might even want to have addresses and phone numbers in your Pet Go Bag to help you plan enroute. You might not have unlimited fuel or time. There are several websites to help – www.pettravelcenter.com and http://hotels.petswelcome.com/ are two of the choices.
What if you are away when disaster strikes? A neighbor with a pet can be a “Buddy”. You both have each other’s home keys, know where the Pet-Go bags are and you have pre-planned what to do in case one of you is unavailable
www.Ready.gov has some additional materials here: http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals
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