Living in Tornado Alley
Living where we do, I’ve seen a lot of tornados. Thankfully, only from a distance. I have however seen the horrible aftermath of several. Two that caused great damage and loss of life happened very near us. We were out of town when the first one hit a town close to our house. We spent hours in a freezer in a grocery store when the second one hit another close by town.
When the first one hit and we were out of town, we had our dog (we only had one then) with us. But while we were in the freezer in the grocery store during the second one, my dogs (two then) were at home alone. I was SO worried about them! I could talk to my grown children on my cell, so I knew they were safe, but how I wished I could know that my four legged babies were safe! Thankfully, our home was fine and so were our dogs.
Tornados don’t usually give much of an advanced warning and the day we spent time in the grocery store freezer started off sunny and beautiful. It was looking a little stormy, but not ominous when we went grocery shopping. It was then that the sirens went off and all doors to the grocery store were locked and we were hustled into the meat freezer. There really wouldn’t have been anything we could have done, had the tornado hit our house.
But, it really reminded me how important it is to have a plan. All over the world, a disaster of some sort can hit at any time. June is Pet Preparedness month, so now is a good time for all of us to be reminded of the importance of being prepared!
Your Plan Should Include All Family Members
The best way to protect your household from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.
Different disasters require different responses. But whether the disaster is a hurricane or a hazardous spill, you may have to evacuate your home.
In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. If it’s not safe for you to stay behind then it’s not safe to leave pets behind either. Take action now so you know how to best care for your furry friends when the unexpected occurs.
- Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. (Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.)
- Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size, and species. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet-friendly” places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
- Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.
The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number.
If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.
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