20100712

Disaster Plan

September 9, 2009

So, here we go. Another hurricane season is upon us. Every hurricane season, I'm reminded of the disasterous Katrina, which unfortunately resulted in the death and displacement of many abandoned pets.

There are many kinds of disasters that can strike. Some personal tragedies / disasters require that you leave your home suddenly, resulting in the need for a pet sitter. Other disasters may require you to evacuate your home entirely. Hopefully, in instances like this, you will be able to take your animals with you. The sad truth is that you may not always be in a position to do this. In the event that a tragedy occurrs, it is best to take the Boy Scout moto and BE PREPARED. Make plans now to avoid being disorganized when the pressure is on. The advice in this blog entry will help you do just that.

DISASTER SUPPLY & CHECK LIST
Make a "Disaster Supply Corner." Dedicate a corner of your home, basement, garage, or attic, for these emergency supplies.

- Crates, cages, or containers, for evacuating every pet in your household
- Bedding for crates
- Vehicle with room for all crates, food, water, and personal gear. Responsible pet owners will always own one vehicle that is large enough for evacuating pets.
- Collapsible pen or temporary fencing
- Cat litter box and extra litter (for cat owners)
- Leashes and collars (with ownership and rabies tags) for every pet
- Toys and treats
- Water for drinking, 2 gallons for each person and pet
- Pet food (sealed for storage) in plastic bins, enough for two weeks
- Bleach (plain household) to treat drinking water (12 drops per gallon)
- Dropper to measure bleach into water
- Instructions for pet care and feeding
- Pet medications
- Veterinary records
- Photos of all pets showing identifying marks loaded to CD and printed, and vaccination forms
- List of pet-friendly lodging options and phone numbers
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries

PET SURVIVAL PLAN
Make an Indoor/Outdoor Pet Shelter in Your Home. Turn your home into an indoor/outdoor pet shelter so that they can survive without you for at least 2 weeks.

Advance Preparations
- Microchip your pets, so they may be identified if you are separated from them.
- Make photographs of your pets for identification, including views of important identifying markings, and keep these with your important papers.
- Ask your pet sitter or a neighbor to call you immediately wherever you are, if a disaster threatens or occurs, any time of day or night.
- If you receive such a call while you are away, call your Reciprocal Foster to make pet care plans.

Before Leaving the Pets
- Remove one entrance door from its hinges (store it on the floor in a distant room) to allow at-will, safe, and permanent access to the outdoors. The door should not be exposed to prevailing winds. Yes, there are risks involved with leaving your home open. If you can, take your pets with you instead.
- Open all windows to allow air circulation in hot climates.
- Post a large sign inside a window that reads: PLEASE RESCUE OUR PETS, if you are uncertain about whether you can return within 2 weeks.
- Post a list TO RESCUERS near the inside entrance that includes: Your contact information; Your reciprocal foster contact information; All pets by name and type, and any medical needs; state that you will make attempts to find and claim your pets.
- Fill all bathtubs and sinks with clean water. Fill buckets with clean water. Fill big plastic tote bins with clean water. Distribute clean water throughout the house. In hot weather, dehydration can kill in 2 to 3 days, especially young, ill, or elderly pets!
- Treat the drinking water so that the standing water doesn't develop bacterial infestations: 16 drops of plain household chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
- Distribute all of your emergency pet food in pans, buckets, and bowls, at least a month's supply.
- Distribute pet toys and favorite beds or blankets.
- Clean all cat litter boxes and fill with litter.
- Turn furniture over that you don't want pets climbing on (list these).
- Unplug all outlets throughout the house.
- Turn off gas or heating oil connections.
- Turn off water mains to the house.

Return within 2 weeks without fail.
Your pets are your responsibility; pray that they will be alive and waiting for you.

Reality Check: This is not the time to worry about poop and pee. If your pets survive the disaster and the aftermath, be grateful.

For more resources on the topic of rescue of animals in emergencies, including preparedness information, check out this page: Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS


*The information provided above is courtesy of SunbearSquad.Org.
** Picture courtesy of National Geographic - Dogs awaiting rescue in Mississippi after Katrina

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