How to Be Pet Prepared for a Natural Disaster

Sparky Steps - How to Be Pet Prepared for a Natural Disaster

How to Be Pet Prepared for a Natural Disaster

When a natural disaster strikes, the first priority is always the safety and care of your family members. As pet parents, the well-being of your furry family members is also top of mind. Unfortunately, according to the American Humane Association, one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to long-term evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your pets is to be prepared. Here are simple steps you can follow now to make sure you’re ready before the next disaster strikes:

 

The Basics

There are four essential items that your pets require during a natural catastrophe:

 

  1. Identification

Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your animal’s ID tag should contain their name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on their carrier.

 

  1. Permanent Connection

Microchipping your pet offers a tamper-proof form of identification. Always be sure to register with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

 

  1. Location, Location.

Always bring pets inside at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented during this time. Keep them in your line of sight so they don’t wander away in a crisis.

 

  1. Stay Together

If you have access to your home in the event of a disaster, do not leave your animals behind. These loyal companions may try to follow you and get lost, or they may become trapped inside. If they flee, they can also be exposed to life-threatening hazards.

 

Taking Extra Steps

The basic measures may be common sense, but there is much more that could, and should, be done to be pet prepared in case of a hurricane, fire, flood, earthquake, or other unforeseen disasters. Here are three crucial steps necessary to do to protect your pet:

 

  1. Alert Stickers

It’s a wise idea to develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. But this is not always possible and pets can be alone when a crisis occurs. But there is a way to let first responders know that there are pets in your home, even if you aren’t there. A Rescue Alert Sticker provides an inexpensive and simple way to let others know that pets are inside your home. It gives animals the best chance of being rescued.
  • Make sure the alert sticker is visible to rescue workers by placing it on or near your front door
  • Include the types and number of pets in your home
  • Add the name and contact number of your veterinarian
  • For extra help to first responders, include a photo and favorite hiding place

 

  1. Plan for a Safe Location

Unfortunately, not all emergency shelters accept animals and some accept only small dogs or cats. Bunnies, horses, hamsters, and other loveable family members need to be safe during a natural disaster, so it is essential that you determine in advance the shelters and centers where you can bring your pets to stay safe. If you need help finding a location that can house your animals in times of crisis, take these steps:
  • check with your local animal shelters to see if they offer emergency accommodations
  • identify pet-friendly hotels outside of your immediate area
  • contact your veterinarian or your local emergency management office
  • ask friends if they can help if the situation becomes desperate

 

  1. Prepare Emergency Provisions

Put together a backpack or waterproof bag with some essentials to support your animals. Wherever you find yourself during a crisis, you’ll need some pet supplies.

 

A disaster kit for your pet

And a reminder that food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit. Otherwise, they may go bad or become useless.

 

How You Can Help Others

Regretfully, the sad truth is that during a natural disaster, many pets may never find their owners. During Hurricane Katrina alone, an estimated 250,000 dogs and cats were displaced or died as a result of this one devasting storm. Shelters are filled with animals who were not able to be returned to their owners. These animals need even more love while they are waiting to be reunited or find new forever homes. You can help!

 

Support Your Local Shelter

We encourage you to volunteer at your local animal shelter. You’ll be surprised at how much satisfaction and joy you experience when you walk a few shelter dogs, care for a few cats, or just hang out with the animals. Join us at Sparky Steps where our philosophy is to always put the animal’s needs first. We strive to create a socially responsible community and we are dedicated to increasing awareness that shelter pets are ready for their forever home. And remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. The likelihood that your precious animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or hurricane depends largely on the emergency planning you do in advance.

 

Written by Audrey Beim

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