The fire department has given you 30 minutes to evacuate your home. You need to get all everything you need for your family and your pets in that amount of time. Are you prepared? Do you know which shelters in your area take animals (not all will)? With hurricane season fast upon us, August and September are the busiest months for activity for the Gulf of Mexico. We are barely prepared with enough hurricane supplies as human beings, as evidenced by the number of people who flock to the grocery store, the gas station, and home improvement stores to get things at the last minute. If we have not prepared ourselves for a possible tropical event, it would be even more doubtful that we have thought about our pets. Here is some advice on how to be more organized prior to an emergency event:
1. While preparing your family plan, make specific plans for each one of your pets.
2. If you have multiple family members and multiple pets, make each person in the family responsible for locating and caring for one pet each.
3. In your plan, if you become separated from each other (like for example, a fire), decide where to meet up afterwards.
4. Who can you call outside of your area? If communications are down locally in your area, your out-of-town contact should know your disaster plan and family meeting place.
5. Include others in your disaster plan including family, friends, neighbors, your vet, and your pet sitter.
6. Contact hotels and motels in advance to see which one take pets. Also, check local humane societies and emergency clinics.
7. Develop a phone tree. One person phones 2 people to see if they need help. Those 2 call two more. Support each other.
8. Create a supply kit for you and your pets to take with you on the road before the disaster hits. Remember 30 minutes is not a long time to have to leave quickly. If you shelter in place, make sure which neighbors have stayed and find a place where your family could go as a backup until the storm has passed and repairs can be made to your home.
9. Stay current on vaccines for your pet. Make sure you have a written note from your vet of your pets’ vaccination status in case of evacuation. That should become part of your emergency disaster kit.
10. Practice with your pets in your fire drills at home to get them used to sudden actions.
11. If you use a pet sitter, make sure they have an emergency plan. Most professional pet sitters do. If you are away when disaster strikes, you and your pet sitter should have already discussed in advance the best plan of action. Your local emergency contacts will be essential to a well-rounded plan for your pets.
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters has a great guide to prepare for disaster. Once at the site from this link: NAPPS Click on The NAPPS Disaster Preparedness Plan for Pet Owners (free 20-page booklet).
Don’t forget to come like us on Facebook (people anyway can participate in this contest) by August 31, 2012 for a chance to win a $50 Petco gift card. The Woodlands area residents also can get 25% of their first contracted service (or next contracted service), or 25% off the first Monday-Friday month of contracted midday services if services are booked by November 30, 2012 and used by December 31, 2012.