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Pet Precautions for a Natural Disaster

Be sure you are prepared to care for your pet when natural disaster strikes by taking the proper precautions.

| March 2018

The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook (Ulysses Press, 2015) by Scott Finazzo helps tech communities to work together when a crisis happens. Finazzo helps his readers build emergency family plans, treating victims of natural disasters, and establishing a neighborhood emergency response team to keep the neighborhood safe. The following excerpt are his tips to protecting your pets for a natural crisis.

They are as much a part of our family as anyone and depend on us for their well-being. Our pets, unfortunately, can be forgotten when it comes to disasters. Ideally we have made the appropriate preparations for them just as we have for our family members. All too often, this isn’t the case and pets become helpless victims. As a pet owner it is your responsibility to not only ensure they are prepared for a disaster, but to keep them safe in its wake.

Before a Crisis

The first step you can take to prepare your pet is to ensure immunizations are up to date and they have a collar or some type of clear and current identification that includes contact information. In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, nearly 200,000 pets were reportedly displaced. If you and your pets become separated, proper contact information can help expedite reuniting you with your companion.

The next step is to identify a safe evacuation area. A situation may arise that forces you to make a choice: shelter in place or evacuate. When deciding whether to stay home or to evacuate, your pets warrant forethought and consideration. If you must evacuate your home, take your pets with you. Their chance for survival greatly increases if you are able to take them when you leave. Despite “animal instinct,” domesticated pets rely on us for their safety and are unlikely to survive on their own. During a crisis people often evacuate to storm shelters. Bringing your pet with you can complicate the situation. Most shelters do not allow pets, so if you are going to evacuate to a shelter, it is imperative that you check first to ensure that pets are permitted. You should locate pet-friendly shelters or hotels, particularly along your evacuation route.



Then you will want to make preparations in your home. Many of the same items you would set aside for your family to utilize in the event of a disaster should also be considered for your pets.

When discussing pets, we are most commonly referring to dogs and cats. Your pet could be anything from a goldfish to a horse. The important thing is to have items ready in advance to care for them, regardless of size. Your preparations should include:






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