Tune-In tonight 7pm CST to hear David SafeWater interview Sheri “The Organic Pet Lady” on The Berkey Guy Show”: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/doctorprepper/2012/05/09/the-berkey-guy-show-with-jeff-gleason
Catastrophic events affect more than human lives; they endanger the lives of many of our family companions: pets. In consideration of the same kinds of events against which we prepare ourselves, our families, and our communities, those of us with pets hold the responsibility to provide for their needs and safety as well.
Small animals vs. Large animals
The differences in accommodations will vary between the sizes of pets or livestock that you and I have. Cats, small dogs, birds, and other smaller companions can be easily placed in carriers that allow for transportation and safe handling. Larger animals such as horses or livestock require their owns considerations and specific plans for care, evacuation & transport, feeding, and attention. Any animal that requires special care or baseline medical attention will require an added amount of time and attention in an emergent event. It is extremely important that provisions be made for such animals in advance, before any emergency or disaster actually occurs.
If both you and your immediate neighbors have horses/livestock, it would benefit you both greatly if you established a coordinated response effort ahead of an actual event. The same collaborative principles apply to smaller pets/animals. The power of your response network is what will increase the likelihood of surviving a catastrophic event with minimal injury and/or loss.
The County of Los Angeles suggests an evacuation plan for animals that includes the following points:
- Before an emergency occurs, make arrangements to shelter your animals at two different & distant locations.
- Large animals should be evacuated from the premises as soon as an EVACUATION WARNING is given – recall that an EVACUATION WARNING is a non-mandatory precursor to an EVACUATION ORDER which is mandatory.
- Maintain your truck & trailers in proper working order, fueled, and accessible. Be sure to pre-designate others to manage the evacuation in case you are absent.
- Know the person(s) who will be evacuating your animals/pets and have their contact info: phone number, driver’s license, residence, determined flee-to location(s), etc.
- Know exactly where the animals/pets will be taken.
- Work with your neighbors ahead of time to provide contingency plans for evacuating the animals/pets of those who might not be home when an event happens.
- Create a get-away plan.
- Secure appropriate lodging in advance: Know where you and your pet will be going after an emergency.
- Develop alternate plans: Have pre-planned boarding information for your pets in case you are sick, injured or have to evacuate during a disaster.
- Keep current documentation: Maintain current records such as medical history and identification for every pet. This information is especially useful when your pet is missing or is taken to a shelter. You also might consider having a microchip implanted in your animal by your pet’s veterinarian in case you get separated.
ESPFocus also recommends the following considerations:
After the crisis has passed, it may be some time before
you can return to your home, so be prepared for a stay of
several days or even a week or two. Keep in mind that
even if your house is intact and you are allowed to return,
the area may not yet be safe for your pets.
Risks after a fire include burned or cut paws, eating or
inhaling toxic substances or residues, escaping because
of downed fences or other damage, loss of shelter and
shade, and a lack of water supply, power supply, and other
services. Many similar risks will be present after an
earthquake or other disaster.
Keep in mind that when animals return to a changed
landscape, they may be upset, disoriented, and easily
stressed. Give them as much calm and normalcy as you
can, and follow similar rituals whenever possible.
Pet Preparedness 101: Part 2/2 will cover more specifics of supplies, tools, and useful resources to strengthen your pet preparations.