September is recognized as National Preparedness Month
Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, so pet parents must be prepared so that their pet can be taken care of properly under any circumstances. National Preparedness Month takes place in the month of September. With natural disasters, most states have a notification system that will either broadcast or even text residents, but even being forewarned can never prepare a family fully for what may lay ahead. To help with the preparations in the event of a disaster, an emergency plan should be put into place that should include not only family members but friends, neighbors and a trusted vet.
The first thing to do when preparing for a disaster is to purchase a pet-alert sticker and displaying it preferably somewhere in the front of the home (near the front door), which details the kind of pet and how many there are in the home. By leaving a vets name and number on the sticker, this will let rescuers know the information they need if they find a pet in the home. The next step to preparing for a disaster is arranging a safe haven for a pet. If a disaster takes place in an area where people may have to leave their home, pet parents can call ahead to find a hotel that accommodates pets, as well as local humane societies and emergency clinics. Pet parents should never assume that their pet will be ok until they return. The rule of thumb is if it isn’t safe for a person, it’s not safe for their pets! Pets who are left behind can escape through broken windows and are then left to fend for themselves and they can not only get lost, but perish in the terrain and the weather.
In case a disaster strikes when a pet parent is not home, it is crucial for a pet parent to have made arrangements well in advance for a trusted friend or family member to come by their home, evacuate their pets and then meet them at a specified location. Be sure that this person knows the pets and that the pets know them, and that the person also has a key to the home. This person should know where pets are likely to hide if they get scared, and where the pets disaster supply kit is located.
A pet disaster supply kit is essential during an emergency. Keeping the supply kit in a place where it is easy to grab is key, so if there is an emergency in a tornado prone area, keep the supply kit in the basement. If there is a disaster in a flood prone area, keep the supply kit in a high place. Depending on if a family needs to evacuate or not, a disaster kit should include the following: a list for each pet, crate or carrier for each pet, collars, leashes, pet first aid kit, veterinarian information and vaccination records, a three week supply of a pets medications, food and water, plastic bags, paper towels, cleaning supplies, sedatives for pets who frighten easily, can opener, food and water bowls, familiar toy and blankets, towels and grooming items, detailed instructions for animal care professionals and rescue workers, a copy of emergency numbers, a flashlight and batteries. Depending on the season, it might also be useful to pack dog booties, a life vest, a rain jacket or a winter jacket. Any kind of disaster is stressful for humans and pets, so packing a few toys and treats can distract a pet.
By being prepared, pet parents not only save precious time, but can also save the lives of their four legged family members.