Great news for Midwestern pets! The ASPCA announced the first grant recipients of our newly-launched Midwest Disaster Resiliency Program to provide much-needed funding, training and expertise to local communities to better serve and assist animals and pet parents during and after disasters.
Animals are often overlooked when it comes to disaster planning, and communities—especially those in areas like the Midwest, which experience higher rates of natural disasters—must be prepared to rescue, shelter, and provide emergency care for pets in the event of a crisis.
While the ASPCA Field and Investigations and Response (FIR) team frequently responds to natural disasters around the country, the Midwest Disaster Resiliency Program allows the ASPCA to work with communities, animal welfare organizations and government agencies in Midwestern states to better enhance their ability to respond to animals and pet guardians affected by emergencies.
Through the program, the ASPCA is providing more than $50,000 to the below groups for emergency response training, equipment and disaster preparedness:
Animal Rescue League Of Iowa (Des Moines, IA)
Beadle County Humane Society (Huron, SD)
Benton Animal Control and Adoption Center (Benton, AR)
Butler County Kansas Animal Response Team (Augusta, KS)
City of Sherwood Department of Humane Animal Services (Sherwood, AR)
City of St. Cloud, MN
Enid SPCA (Enid, OK)
Faulkner County Animal Response Team (Conway, AR)
Johnson County Animal Response Team (Lenexa, KS)
Kingman Pratt Area Animal Response Team (Cheney, KS)
Kansas SART, Inc. (Wichita, KS)
Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (St. Paul, MN)
Nebraska Humane Society (Omaha, NE)
Springfield-Greene County Community Emergency Response Team (Springfield, MO)
Emergencies come in many forms and the best thing communities can do for their citizens and pets is to be prepared. The ASPCA is also working with PetSmart Charities, Inc. to provide animal welfare organizations across the country with the equipment and supplies necessary to respond to and care for an increased number of animals in large-scale emergencies.
We are so excited to help local communities keep more families and pets together during disasters.
The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team (FIR) hit the road in the Lone Star State this week to showcase the new mobile command center’s disaster response equipment and demonstrate how we can help support Texas communities and animals in the wake of natural disasters.
Throughout the week, the Personnel Support Trailer (PST) made special stops at Fort Sam in Houston, followed by visits to the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas A&M University and San Antonio Animal Services to discuss collaborative efforts between the ASPCA and Texas animal agencies in emergency situations.
FIR responders travel across the country to assist animals in situation such as natural disasters, puppy mill raids and dog fighting busts. In the aftermath of disasters, it can often be difficult for FIR team members to find housing near where their help is needed most. The new Personnel Support Trailer offers FIR responders a comfortable, secure place to stay while in the field and greatly enhances our ability to respond to emergencies while helping lower the costs of longer deployments.
Made possible by the generous support of the Joanie Bernard Foundation and the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, the trailer consists of a 53-foot 2012 Western Star Tractor with an attached 12-foot Command Post equipped with state-of-the-art communication capabilities, providing FIR responders with a vital communications portal and secure planning space. The new trailer has space for 12 team members and includes fully functional bathrooms, a kitchen area, an expandable living space and two generators, allowing responders to be completely self-contained for up to one week.
Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker
Just because most disasters strike with little or no warning doesn’t mean we can’t effectively prepare for them. But while a lot of attention has been devoted to disaster planning for people, disaster planning for pets is all too often left out of the conversation, with tragic results. September may be National Preparedness Month, but the truth is we should always be preparing –with both ourselves and our pets in mind—so we can always be ready.
As experts in both disaster preparedness and response, the ASPCA is very aware of this peril. Following Hurricane Sandy, we assisted more than 30,000 pets in New York and New Jersey, distributing nearly 40 tons of pet supplies to impacted pet owners, and sheltering nearly 280 displaced pets. This summer, we released our first-ever ASPCA smartphone app, which includes disaster preparedness and pet survival tips, a tool to store and manage your pet’s vital information, as well as practical tips and a customizable kit for recovering lost pets.
We put a lot of effort into keeping pets safe, but the biggest role belongs to their owners. Yet, according to a national ASPCA poll, more than one-third of cat and dog owners don't have a disaster preparedness plan in place, and only one-quarter say their animals are micro-chipped. In the Northeast, nearly half of dog owners and cat owners say they don't know what they would do with their pets in an evacuation, while slightly more pet owners in the South – where hurricanes are more common – are aware.
This lack of preparedness can have dire consequences. During Hurricane Katrina, approximately 10,000 animals were evacuated, but less than half were reunited with their families, according to Dr. Dick Green, our senior director of disaster response.
These outcomes aren’t inevitable. Let’s work together to share and take advantage of these valuable suggestions from our veteran rescuers:
Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification
Microchip your pets and register the chip. It may be their ticket home if they become lost
Build a portable pet emergency kit with items such as medical records, water, pet food, medications and pet first aid supplies
Affix a pet rescue sticker to your windows (Get a free one here)
Have current photos of your pets on hand
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation, and never leave them behind
Identify ahead of time where you’ll bring your pets -- whether it’s a relative’s house or a pet-friendly hotel -- because not all emergency facilities accept animals
Remember: any home unsafe for people is also unsafe for pets
Here’s a list of items pet owners should include in their pet preparedness kits:
Pet first-aid kit (ask your vet what to include)
3-7 days' worth of canned or dry food
Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans work well)
Litter or paper toweling
Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
Disposable garbage bags
Pet feeding dishes
Extra collars or harnesses, as well as an extra leash
Photocopies of medical records – or you can store them on the ASPCA App
A waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (make sure to regularly replace expired food and medicines in your kit)
At least a week’s worth of bottled water for you and your pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
A blanket (for scooping up a fearful pet)
Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make "Lost" posters)
Especially for cats: A pillowcase as a crate alternative, and large bags for supplies, toys, and scoopable litter
Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week's worth of cage liner
Even if conditions are safe enough to stay home, you may still need to calm pets scared by lightning and loud noises. Prepare a small, safe space in which they can be comfortable, consider closing curtains and shades, play classical music or white noise to muffle the sounds, and most importantly, keep them inside.
Like most humans, animals don’t respond well to chaos. With hurricane season not ending until November, it’s critical for pet owners to be the true “first responders”— knowing just what to do when their beloved companions need them most.
Tune in tonight at 7:00 P.M. ET for our Google+ Hangout with the ASPCA’s Dick Green and Deborah Press as well as representatives from FEMA, USDA, and the Joplin Humane Society. We’ll discuss the challenges of keeping pets safe during an emergency. The discussion will be moderated by ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee, and includes an appearance by Joy, an ASPCA-rescued Sandy survivor.
If a natural disaster or emergency strikes, will you be prepared? As part of National Preparedness Month, the ASPCA wants to make sure that pet parents are ready for any situation that may arise. That’s why we’re hosting the ASPCA Disaster Preparedness Month Hangout tomorrow, Thursday, September 18 from 7:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M EST.
At this Google Hangout, we’ll help you “master the disaster” with tips and tricks to keep your four-legged family members safe. Topics will include how to prepare for a disaster with pets, what to do if a disaster strikes, how to find pet-friendly evacuation locations, and more!
Our expert panel will be moderated by Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee. Participants include:
Dick Green, Senior Director of Disaster Response, ASPCA
Deborah Press, Senior Manager of Regulatory Affairs, ASPCA
Anne McCann, National Emergency Programs Coordinator, USDA
Mark Tinsman, Mass Care Specialist, FEMA
Lysa Boston, Shelter Manager, Joplin Humane Society
Rob Curran, Hurricane Sandy Survivor, and his cat, Joy
To participate in our #NatlPrep hangout, be sure to RSVP today and tune in tomorrow!
September is National Preparedness Month, and we’re busy helping pet parents get ready to face a natural disaster or emergency before it strikes. Here are three things you can do this month to help your pets weather a storm:
1. Download the ASPCA Mobile App. Our new app allows users to store critical pet records required to board pets at evacuation shelters, provides customized steps to search for lost pets, and includes a check-list of actions to take before, during and after a storm.
2. Microchip your pet! Microchipping could be your pet’s best ticket home if he becomes lost. The chip contains owner contact information and can be read by scanner at most animal shelters. Ask your veterinarian about microchipping your pet asap.
3. Attend our Google+ Hangout on September 18 at 7:00 P.M. ET. We’re bringing together experts from the ASPCA, FEMA and the USDA for a Google+ Hangout moderated by Good Morning America’s Ginger Zee. Topics will include how to prepare for a disaster with pets, what to do if a disaster strikes, and how to find pet-friendly evacuation locations. Join us!