Personal Preparedness – Saving Pets During a Disaster

Homeland Advisory Group’s K9 - Cocoa

Thousands of Dogs, Cats and other pets were lost after Hurricane Katrina.  95% of those animals could have been saved with a little planning and preparations.  Homeland Advisory Group has asked its professional planners for their top tips to save your pets and animals in the event of a large scale emergency or disaster.  The full report can be found HERE.

We identified three key things for animal owners to remember:

1.) Plan: Personal pets and animals are rarely allowed in disaster shelters set up or staffed by the Red Cross or any other relief agencies.  This is primarily due to waste, disease and bites.

a. If you have pets plan on an alternative evacuation location that will accept pets

b. If you have many animals or animals larger than a dog, such as a horse; you will need to prepare and emergency organize transport and relocation plan.  Having a professional prepare the plan is ideal to assure the plan and activation is correct.

2.) Prepare: Pack for your Pets too!  As obvious as it seems now, the majority of pet owners who evacuate forget to bring supplies for their animals.

a. Remember to bring: Food, Water, Toy and Medication.  Set these items aside with your other disaster supplies.

3.) Document:

a. Make sure you have copies of your animal’s registration and immunization records along with a photo to show to Emergency Response Personnel.

b. Get an identification sticker for your front door to notify Emergency Response Personnel the type and quantity of animals in your office/residence.

With these tips you’ll have everything you need for your pets and animals to make it through the hardest part of a disaster or emergency.

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7 Responses to Personal Preparedness – Saving Pets During a Disaster

  1. Pearedeworarp says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    • Steven says:

      Thank you for your support. We have some interesting stories coming up! You’ll be able to follow stories of our clients and how they chose to prepare across the US.

  2. Pamala McBrayer says:

    Ensuring that your animal is properly tagged and microchipped will go a long way in recovery of an animal that hides or flees in fear during a disaster event. It will also prevent accidental euthanasia of your pet as a “stray” or unowned animal! But, being able to contact the owner of the animal is also critical…

    1) Assign an alternate emergency number to a person you would call or contact outside of your area if you had to evacuate…possibly in another state. Do not assume that your veterinarian’s office will survive a disaster event.

    2) Do not assume your cell phone number will benefit you if you are in a disaster event. Cell towers may be compromised, just as LAN line can be. This is another reason why the alternate number is critical.

    3) Keep your pet’s shots up to date! ALL OF THEM! This protects the general public that could have contact with your pet and it protects them in a situation where they are exposed to strays running loose or kenneled in a shelter with animals that have unknown health/vaccination backgrounds. It can save your pet’s life from diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, and distemper!

    4) Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, not just with supplies for yourself, but also for your pet. If your pet is injured or bleeding and needs care, muzzling may be necessary to provide that care. This can be accomplished with ace bandaging, small rope/cord, electrical tape, or first aid tape.

    5) Other items to keep in your vehicle: flashlight with extra batteries; a leash or rope; small tarp, and a small blanket. These items can be used to locate victims, restrain an animal from leaving once captured, the tarp can provide a means of emergency shelter and waterproof surface to lay on, secured by the rope. The tarp can also be used as a drag device to slide a victim or animal to a safe area if too heavy to carry. Lastly, the blanket provides warmth to prevent shock and hypothermia.

    6) Load pictures of your animals onto a central website such as Facebook, Yahoo!, or other networking website if not already available to a microchip recovery organization like HomeAgain Companion Animal Recovery system.

    7) Your pet can ususally survive quite a while without food, but will die without a good supply of water. Plan to carry enough water in your vehicle for the people and pets in your household for 3 days time (1 gallon/person/day)

    8) If you have the ability to evacuate your animals completely out of a disaster area to be kenneled elsewhere for a period of time, that is ideal. If you must return, return at first without the animals to lessen the burden on your community and protect the animals from lack of resources. Have a plan on where you can take your animals and a backup…many municipal shelters outside an affected area have the ability to provide emergency placement services, expand capacity for disaster recovery. Ask for foster assistance.

    I hope these hints may help. I live in Texas and have provided support for wildfire/ flooding operations for the American Red Cross in West Texas, and have supported recovery efforts for Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Rita, and Ike. In May 2006, we experienced the loss of our home in a tornado. Our pets were successfully evacuated, and luckily, we had a place to take them until our new apartment was ready. Planning for the worst has its benefits.

    • Eric says:

      Pamala, what a fantastic breakdown. Thank you for you comment! Perhaps we can feature this as its own post.

      • Aleexiis says:

        Doris – Laurie, Debbie told me to look at the Kittens, not that i can Adopt one, Hoppi don’t get along with Cats and we are aylaws on the move. But i wanted to tell you Hoppi has Megaesophagus she is doing fine with that, she is now 9 years old, she still has is, but no problem with it and she was the same as that little kitten, just wanted to let you know. We are in NC, see you in the Winter, Doris.June 9, 2010 – 9:36 am

  3. rtyecript says:

    I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

  4. Pingback: Guest Writer Pamala M. on Pet Preparedness - Homeland Advisory Group BlogHomeland Advisory Group Blog

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