How to handle emergency prep for pets

By HELEN PALMER

Contributing writer

A reader sent an email suggesting that a reminder on preparing for disasters might be in order at this time.  I agree. Even though we are not in a hurricane prone area, there are other disasters that can happen such as a train derailment resulting in a hazardous chemical spill or a fire caused by a leaking gas transmission line. Then there are tornadoes and earthquakes in this area or snowstorms that block roads and disrupt electrical service. Preparing for disasters is important and we just hope the instructions will never have to be used.

There are several things you need to do now, before an emergency occurs. First, locate a shelter (motel or friend’s house) for you and your pets that will be out of the disaster area. If there are no shelters that will welcome your pets, check for boarding facilities outside your county. You might want to “introduce” your pets to the facility occasionally so they won’t be confused if a disaster occurs and you have to leave them there.

The Humane Society of the United States lists these items for a Disaster Supplies Kit. 

1.  Medications and medical records, including rabies and other vaccinations dates, in a waterproof container. A First Aid Kit: your veterinarian will recommend the essentials.  

 2. Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to prevent escape.

3. Current photos of pets: featuring front and both side views with a ruler or yardstick nearby to confirm the size.

4. Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter and pan, can opener and spoon. There should be enough for at least five days and one gallon of water per human or large animal per day is recommended. Trash bags, paper towels and toilet paper.

5. Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, name and phone number of veterinarian in case you have to leave them somewhere. Obviously you will not have time to prepare this if you wait until the evacuation order.

6. Pet beds and toys if easily transportable.

The HSUS continues with What To Do when you receive an evacuation notice.

At first hint of disaster, act to protect your pet. Take it (them) with you; you may be gone for a week or more.

Call to confirm emergency shelter accommodations for you and pets.

Check pet disaster supplies: are they ready to go?

Bring pets indoors; have them ready to move out.

Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars, securely fastened with up to date identification.  Attach address and phone number of your temporary shelter or a friend or relative outside the disaster area.

Well in advance, discuss with a trusted friend or neighbor emergency assistance in transporting your pets to a pre-arranged location if you work away from home.

 The reader wanted everyone to realize that the Red Cross and many other shelters DO NOT allow pets, so it is important to be prepared and not wait and wish you had made plans. More on this next week.