Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Disaster Preparedness For Pets

Here in New Jersey we have been hit with hurricanes that have had some devastating effects. The last two hurricanes one of which was Sandy caused devastation here in New Jersey and had a serious impact on pets. During Sandy we lost power for a week.  We were fortunate because many people did not get their power back until after two weeks. It seems that our weather in general is getting worse and we are slated to have a very active hurricane season this year. Because of this we have created a plan because one can never be too safe.   Below are some suggestions and tips on what you can do for preparation.

  • Bring your pets inside! No pet should be left outside during a severe storm.
  • Create a plan. According to the Red Cross all families should discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live. You should also identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team. For example, if you have multiple pets you can assign a specific member, a specific pet. Once you create the plan, stick to it. This will allow for things to flow much more smoothly during a chaotic situation.
  • As I have mentioned on some of my other blog posts, make sure your pets are microchipped and that all tags are up to date with their current information. This is crucial just in case you are separated from your pet. Always keep an updated picture of your pet, photograph any special markings etc.
  • Identify ahead of time places that you can leave your pet at that are safe. A boarding facility, a vet’s office. You don’t want to start looking for places at the last minute. The same goes with pet-friendly hotels in your area. Know ahead of time which ones allow pets.
  • Have an emergency kit ready for your pet. It should include enough water for three days, non-perishable food (include a manual can opener if needed), bowls, blanket, litter, litter box, puppy pads, chew toy, plastic bags, medicine and medical records for both you and your pet in waterproof containers, extra leash and a flash light. Keep all of this handy in a backpack so it’s ready to go.
  • Make sure you have plenty of food for your pets.  If they are on medication make sure you have plenty to last you for a  week or more.   Again when Sandy hit, business were closed for days so you want to make sure you and your companion are stocked up with food and other important items.
  • If your plan includes staying home and riding out the storm, then do so unless of course you are being told otherwise. You should always follow the recommendation of state officials. During Hurricane Sandy many people decided to ride out the storm although they were instructed by Governor Christie to leave their homes especially if they lived near the coast. Because of there not following orders, many people including their pets had to be rescued due to rising waters. Remember, you can replace material things, your life and your pet’s life on the other hand can’t be.
  • If you decide to stay keep leashes and pet carriers nearby in case you need to leave, but again don’t wait for the last minute you are putting yourself in danger. If you can, always stay tuned with the most recent news reports.
  • Post rescue alert stickers on your front door and/or windows.  If you need to evacuate take your pet. But in the extreme reason that you cannot these will at least let rescuers know that there are animals inside the house.
  • If you can’t get home to your pet. Call your neighbor. My neighbor and I have exchanged keys in case an emergency occurs and we can’t get to our beloved companions.
  • They also sell “MY PET IS HOME ALONE Plastic Key Tag & Wallet Cards.” You can purchase these and put them in your car or wallet. If something was to happen to you, rescue workers now that your pets are home alone.

Lastly, go to the ASPCA website, they have a plethora of information especially on what you can do if you own other types of animals such as birds and horses. You can also get a free animal rescue alert sticker from them.  Click here to go to the website.

They area great source of information.