Washing away dreams and changing lives forever, relentless floods affected several areas of the United States this weekend. In North Carolina, roads were washed out and at least two people were killed after flooding rains hit parts of the state. Several hundred miles to the north, nearly eight inches of rain fell in Philadelphia, where roads were closed and flights were canceled. In Arizona, a tour bus literally floated away after heavy rains caused flash flooding. Unfortunately, however, it’s not over yet – Tropical Storm Flossie is expected to impact parts of Hawaii and the storm could cause “life-threatening flash floods and mud slides” according to the National Weather Service.
The unpredictability of Mother Nature as seen by this weekend’s severe weather is a vivid reminder of why it’s so important to prepare now – before a disaster strikes. Pets should have their own disaster preparedness kits and you should NEVER leave pets behind when you evacuate.
When disaster strikes a community, essential services are often unavailable. So, what can you do to ensure your pet is cared for?
Preparation for pets
- NEVER leave animals behind. Know a safe place where your pets can go if you need to evacuate. Evacuation destinations may include a friend or family member’s home, going to a pet-friendly hotel, or temporarily housing your pet(s) at a boarding facility.
- Always keep your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date.Be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information.
- Update your microchip registrations and pet license information to ensure its current and consider including the name and contact information of an out-of-area contact just in case you are unreachable in a disaster zone.
- Prepare a pet emergency kit complete with leashes, collars, extra ID tags, water, food, medications, sanitation materials (i.e. litter and litter box), health/immunization records, and photos to prove ownership.
- Have portable carriers large enough for your pets to stand-up and turn around in ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- Prepare a pet first-aid kit, including your veterinarian’s contact information and an authorization to treat your pets.
- Create a contact list of pet-friendly hotels, veterinarians, the local American Red Cross, the American Humane Association and out-of-town friends/family.
Preparation for livestock
- Post emergency contact numbers at your barn and/or on your pasture fence.
- Be sure that your animals have some form of identification.
- Have sufficient transportation available for all your livestock or know where to obtain it. Train your livestock how to board the vehicles before an emergency.
- Create a list of neighbors within a 100-mile radius of your home who would be willing to board your livestock if you are forced to evacuate.
- Form agreements with neighboring ranches and farms to help each other with disaster preparation and evacuations.
- Know organizations in your area that are prepared to rescue and house displaced livestock.
- Involve your family and neighbors in establishing an evacuation plan for animals in barns and outlying buildings.
- Make up a kit with leads, halters, equine and bovine first-aid kits, quieting hoods for easy transport, and water.
- Consider your routes of evacuation and ensure that your destination location has all necessary supplies.
- Keep photos, a copy of veterinary records and your ownership papers or brands with you at all times when you evacuate in case you are separated from your livestock.
So, please, prepare now. Share this information with friends and family and support our vital work in rescuing animals affected by disasters at www.americanhumane.org