For those of us on the East Coast, the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 is still present and fresh on our minds. And most recently, persistent flooding in the Midwest has wreaked havoc on the lives of humans and pets alike. It’s important for pet parents in all parts of the country to be prepared to act in the face of a disaster—and that includes having an emergency plan in place for your pets.
That’s one of the reasons why we joined FEMA to recognize May 8 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn more about the ways you can keep your furry friends safe in an emergency. Here are a few easy steps you can take:
1. Have a Plan. Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals in an evacuation, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options. Practice that plan at least yearly and share it with your family and friends.
2. Build a Kit. Don’t forget a photo of your pet, medical records, vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions.
3. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on the weather, follow a projected storm’s path and don’t get caught unprepared. Staying informed also means knowing which shelters house both people and pets, monitoring possible road closures and having alternate travel plans.
4. Know Your Neighbors. It’s best to form a relationship with your neighbors well in advance of a disaster situation.Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home and when. If a disaster occurs while you’re at work, your neighbor may be the only one who can reach your pets.
5. Vaccinate and Microchip. If you’re ever required to shelter your pets, you’ll want them protected against disease. And the single most important piece of advice we can offer is to microchip your pets. It is truly their ticket home.