K9 Corner, March 21

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, March 21, 2017

By HELEN PALMER

Contributing writer

Last week I wrote about preparing for any kind of disaster, whether a chemical spill, a ruptured gas line, or a weather-related catastrophe. Now, each family and/or individual should make two plans and practice those plans until you can follow them in your sleep.  The two plans cover sheltering in place when it is too dangerous to try to evacuate and the other plan is to evacuate – get out of there as fast as you can!

In the case of a tornado, plan where you are going to shelter to protect yourself and all your family members, including pets until there is an “all-clear” signal. Tornados usually do not stay in one spot for long, though I know there are people in Kansas and Missouri who would question that statement.  However these storms are inclined to move fast and leave an unbelievable path of destruction. If your shelter is badly damaged, you must be prepared to leave with family, pets and supplies to a safer place.  Where do you plan to go?

That is why I stress having an emergency container with all the essentials ready to go. Last week I listed essentials for pets, this week I will include necessities for the humans. Make sure there is enough food and water for each individual for at least three days.  Rotate these items the first of each month so they stay fresh. Remember to rotate the water too. Think of the local temperatures and include extra clothing for each person. Flashlights or lanterns are a must.  Plan how you are going to provide for elimination needs. You will need a bucket as well as the trash bags and toilet paper I mentioned last week.

If you are experiencing a block when it comes to planning, tell yourself you are going on a three-day camping trip and what would you bring.

The main thing is to practice your plan. As the late Lennie Shepperson, past Emergency Manager, used to say, the reason the firefighters and other emergency crews performed so well in emergencies is because they practiced on a regular basis.  Everyone knew what to do, where to go, and what was expected of them. The same thing can be planned and taught to both the family members and the pets.   

 In the case of pets, remember that dogs are pack animals. They need pack members which the family provides if it is an only dog. Also, all dogs need regular exercise and preventive veterinary care.  Summer heat as well as extreme cold in winter will also play a part. Be sure to keep your dog well hydrated by offering cool, fresh water while exercising during the summer. Be careful of heat exhaustion, the symptoms of which are: heavy panting, wheezing, lameness, disorientation and stopping in the middle of a game. 

Now make your plans on where everyone should go when a disaster is imminent, collect your supplies and practice over and over. Make it a game for the children so the little ones do not get frightened.