If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters, then have an evacuation plan for your family and pets. If everyone in the family understands the plan and the equipment is always available, there is no reason for anyone to be unsure of what to do. If you have pets, how would you get them off the property and to a safe place?
Be sure to have enough crates or cages for smaller pets (cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards) and food and water dishes for them too. Collars and leashs for the dogs and halters and leads for horses, etc.
If you have fresh water fish, you can put them in a plastic bag that has a zipper on the top. Put half water and half air.Close the bag, wrap it in a towel and put it in a kitchen pot. They can do just fine in this for some time.
Have two sets of these items if possible so that if you can’t get to the primary set (because of fire, etc.) you can get to the backup set. Keep them in different areas of your property.
Before a disaster happens, find out where your resources are that can help you. The Red Cross has a mobile command center with all large disasters. Call your local animal shelter and ask about their emergency evacuation plan. Are they a place that you can take your pets? What will happen to your pet if they have to evacuate? Do they have cell phones that you can contact them thru in case they have to evacuate and you can’t get back to get your pets? Talk to animal control in your community and ask if they have a plan in place. Also find out if they have ever had to implement the plan.
Be sure to have ID tags on all pets. Microchipping is strongly encouraged. This is a permanent ID and all shelters and many vets have scanners that read these chips. Keep the info with the company up to date with alternate numbers. If you have evacuated, you aren’t at that phone number, so add your cell number and a friends number to the record.
Check to see that you have current photos of your pets so that if you loose them, they can be ID’d by these photos. Bring food and any medications that your pets are taking. Have the name and phone number of your vet with you. Even if he/she is evacuated too, you may need to refill a prescription for your dog and will want that information.
Remember that your pets will not be acting normally. The dog or cat that is always well behaved and obedient will be scared and wild, or scared and overly quiet. NEVER let them off a leash during this time. They could easily bolt and be gone forever. Keep them as quiet as possible.
While away from home, feed at the same time that is normal for them. Be sure that they have plenty of fresh water. Use only bottled water as “local” water could be different than that at home and cause medical problems with your pet.
Do not expect a child to care for a pet at this time. Your child is going to be scared and this is not the time. The pet could panic and hurt your child. Keep the pets in their enclosures. The children can sit with them and talk to them. You all want to go home together.
If you plan ahead and talk to your children you can get though anything. Knowing whats happening and that there is a plan, can make all the difference in the world. We hope that you will never need this information, but planning ahead can save a life.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration had up date info on the incoming hurricanes. www.noaa.gov
FIRST AID KIT FOR PETS
It is suggested that the following items be placed in a box labeled to indicate this is for pets. A plastic box with a snap lid to keep it all in one place would keep the items clean and together.
- Vital information card. This should list the name and phone number of your vet; the phone number, address, and travel directions to the nearest emergency pet clinic; and the phone number of the local poison control office or the National Animal Poison Control Center.
- First-aid manual
- Chemical ice packs and hot packs
- Pantyhose, a necktie, or long strip of stretchable gauze (to make a muzzle)
- Blunt-tipped scissors and tweezers
- Rubbing alcohol
- Eyewash (such as contact lens solution)
- Antibiotic ointment or powder
- Milk of magnesia (give if your dog swallows a caustic poison)
- Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting or for cleaning a wound)
- Petroleum jelly
- Cotton balls
- Needle nose pliers
- Large needleless syringe for giving liquid medicines
- Rectal thermometer
- Bandaging materials: 102 inch nonstretchable gauze rolls and gauze pads in varying sizes
- Packing tape (for taping a broken leg to a firm surface)
The Little Guides Dogs?, Paul McGreevy, B.V.Sc., Ph.D., M.R.C.V.S., 2002
Getting Ready For an Emergency, or, “Get Your Kit Together”
Start now – like everything else in life (particularly when it comes to dealing with our foxies), it’s an overwhelming task when viewed as a whole, but taking a few steps a day will have you in good shape in relatively short order. (Before you start, get a spiral-bound notebook of 3″x5″ cards – as you go through this exercise you’re going to want to make notes to yourself and lists of things you need to find/purchase/do, and the card stock will hold up much better than plain old paper.)
- Decide where and how you’ll store your disaster kit. (Consider having more than one – inside the house, in the car, outside the house?) Be careful about keeping it in your garage, as electric door openers may not work and doors may be blocked by water/debris. Wherever you decide, store the kit(s) in water tight containers which can be further sealed with the judicious application of duct tape. My largest kit – which I hope would get us through at least 3 days - is stored in a plastic garbage can in the far corner of my backyard, but I also have pared down versions in both cars and the pantry.
- Go find out where your gas and water shut offs and your electrical panel are, if you don’t already know, and pass the info along to any/everyone else living in your house. Take a long, hard look at your water heater and figure out how to turn the pilot off and where the drain spigot is. Show any/everyone else. Store a clean bucket/cup/whatever right next to that spigot – use duct tape to anchor it where it won’t get away, if necessary. Now go and take a long, hard look at your electrical panel and figure out how to turn the electricity off to the whole house. If you use fuses, make sure to have several spares duct taped to the bottom of the box. (You’re right, you have noticed my leit motif – “duct tape is your friend”.)
- If you have bottled water on hand, put every ounce of it away wherever you think will be safest if “the big one” comes tonight – you can replace it tomorrow for your day-to-day use. Do the same with whatever long shelf-life food you have on hand (granola bars, canned beans/meats/veggies/fruits, vacuum sealed milk or soy milk, peanut butter, AND – of course – dog food). If you don’t have any bottled water on hand right now, fill as many sealable containers (Tupperware, soda bottles) as you can with tap water and store them for tonight - you’ll be replacing them with bottled water after tomorrow’s jaunt to the market.
- Sit down and enjoy an adult beverage of your choosing.
- Install an anti-siphon valve on your water heater(s). In the event of a water line break, this will keep the water in the tank from flowing back out. Your water heater is likely to be the largest single source of clean water available to you in an emergency, and it wouldn’t do to have it go spilling all over the ground! If you’re in especially good standing with doG and get some advance warning of the impending disaster, fill every available vessel – including your bathtub(s) and sink(s).
- Purchase whatever you’ll use to store your supplies and an extra roll of duct tape, and then make sure that the container(s) will fit wherever you plan to put them – BEFORE they’re filled with heavy items. (Go ahead, say “duhhhh”, and then imagine me with my 40 gallon trash container totally filled with water – at 8 lbs/gal – canned goods, etc. – no feathers – only to realize that it wasn’t anywhere near where it should be . duhhhhh .)
- Buy 6 gallons of bottled water for each 2-legged household member (2 gallons/day x 3 days), and at least 1 gallon for each of the critters. Gallon jugs are a great size, manageable by almost everyone, but not usually sold in particularly sturdy containers, whereas 5 gallon bottles (ala Sparkletts) are much more compact and sturdier but also very heavy. I recently found some great 2.5 gallon containers – rectangular with nice ergonomic handles – at Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.
- Buy 3 days worth of non-perishable people food and a week’s supply of kibble and/or canned food for the critters. For those of us with raw-fed critters, suggest that they brush up on their hunting skills.
- Put the storage containers wherever they’re going to go, and start filling them.
- Repeat #4 as needed.
- You might as well start with #4, because these next two aren’t any fun at all!
- Get all of your important phone #’s in one place – ideally a battery-powered something (PDA/cell phone memory) that you keep with you. If it’s a paper list, make copies and put them everywhere. Make an entry under “ICE” (acronym for “in case of emergency”) and put the name/# of whomever you’d like to have contacted if you’re unable to do so.
- Altho’ it’s a pain to prepare, scan your important documents onto a CD or DVD, with at least two copies stored off-site – we’ve sent one to a family member who isn’t on the Pacific coast, and have another in my office. I included drivers’ licenses, Social Security cards, birth certificates, credit cards (back sides, too!), insurance policies, health plan ID cards, emergency contact/family members’ phone #s, passports, auto registrations and the dogs’ medical records & chip info. Someone else suggested including photos of anything against which you might end up making an insurance claim, which I think is a great idea although I haven’t done it yet.
Every 6 months:
- Replace the batteries and kibble – and anything else that might go out of date – in your kit.
Our “basic stuff” consists of: water & food for us and the dogs for 3 days, some “medicinal spirits” (wink, wink), flatware and plates, a pocket knife, a little cash, flashlights, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, a backpacking tent, emergency blankets, clean “undies”, minimal toiletries including bar soap, rain ponchos, disposable camera, emergency medical/first aid supplies, a small bottle of unscented/ un”flavored” bleach (good as a disinfectant and water purifier in a pinch), paper towels, toilet tissue, chamois cloths, a box of garbage compactor bags w/ties, a roll of duct tape, a machete, a plumber’s wrench, a screwdriver with various heads, extra house and car keys, dog leashes and muzzles, a couple of great books, notepads & pens (in case we decide to write a great book) and a deck of cards and a cribbage board.
Nancy Richards Wolfing, San Diego, CA
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