HURRICANE DORIAN UPDATE
No Town Left Behind and Waterfull are joining forces to bring disaster support to the Bahamas. Waterfull will assist in providing drinking water and shower capabilities to those who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. We will give our followers an update in a special newsletter edition soon.
Disaster Prep for Your Four-Legged Family Members
Our pets are members of our family. Therefore, emergency disaster preparedness should also include the animals in our home. Unfortunately, many people do not know what to do in the event of a disaster – let alone how to take care of their pets.
For instance, FEMA reports, “only 39 percent of [survey] respondents have developed an emergency plan.” This low percentage does not even include the number of those respondents who have an emergency preparedness plan for their pets, but it is safe to assume this number is much lower.
This month’s newsletter is designed to help you keep your four-legged family members safe in case of an emergency.
When Planning for Your Family, Plan for Your Pets Too
When you take time to work through an emergency preparedness plan for your family, make sure you plan for your pets at the same time. As the Humane Society of the United States explains, “If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets.” Often, people make the mistake of believing their pets will survive in conditions that they wouldn’t survive in themselves.
Unfortunately, “you have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.” Therefore, pet owners must do some disaster planning for their pets in advance, as well.
Every Pet Needs to Be Microchipped
First things first, make sure your pet is microchipped. As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains, “This is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated.” It is also important to keep the microchip information up to date. If you have moved or changed phone numbers, you will need to update this information through the microchip company. Along these same lines, it is critical for pets to wear identification. Their collars and tags should provide contact information to be used in case of an emergency.
Keep Records Up to Date
It is also important for pet owners to keep their pet’s medical records up to date. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, you may have to board your pet. For example, if your pets are not up to date with their vaccinations, this will hinder you when it comes to finding a safe place for them to stay. Similarly, the CDC recommends pet owners “keep your pet up-to-date on all heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives.”
If You Think You Must Leave Pets at Home…
We cannot stress the importance of taking your pets with you if you need to evacuate. However, we recognize there are some instances where it may not seem possible. For example, what should you do if disaster strikes and you are not at home to get your animal? Ideally, you will have someone in mind who can rescue your pet in case of an emergency and get your pet to you safely.
Another way to avoid being forced to leave your pets at home after a disaster is to monitor evacuation orders and evacuate early. The Humane Society stresses, “Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind.”
Find Pet-Friendly Lodging or Boarding
As you create your emergency preparedness plan, it is important to look for accommodations for your family, including your four-legged family members. Unfortunately, many emergency shelters do not allow pets. The CDC explains, “Pets may not be allowed in local shelters, unless they are service animals.”
Therefore, it is important for you to plan ahead of time for lodging or boarding. Here are a few suggestions for pet-friendly lodging or boarding:
Check with local shelters to see if pets will be allowed.
Look for pet-friendly hotels. Also, ask hotels in areas accepting evacuees if they will waive their “no pets” policy.
See if friends or family are willing to let your pets stay with them.
Local kennels and veterinarian offices may have openings for pets in need of shelter.
Under resources, we have included several websites that are useful for finding pet-friendly lodging. Additionally, the CDC has a Pet Boarding Template for all your pet’s information that you can fill out in advance and place in their emergency kit.
Staying Healthy While Evacuating with Pets
Another important consideration when creating your pet-friendly emergency preparedness plan is keeping your family and your pets safe and healthy. The CDC explains, “Exposure to inclement weather conditions, stagnant water, wildlife or unfamiliar animals, and overcrowding can put both you and your pet at risk for getting sick. Some diseases can be spread between animals and people, such as rabies, ringworm, leptospirosis, and diseases spread by mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks like West Nile and Lyme disease.”
The following tips will keep your entire family, including your four-legged family members, safe and healthy:
Washing your hands after handling your pet.
Do not allow your pet to lick your face or hands.
Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.
Prevent your pet from interacting with other animals, such as wildlife or strays.
Avoid contaminated water.
Clean and wash cages, kennels, and bedding regularly.
Stay up to date on all vaccinations and medications.
Building a Pet Emergency Kit
Just as it is important to build an emergency kit for your human family members, it is also important to build an emergency kit for your pets. When building the kit, you need to prepare the kit by thinking about everything your pet will need if you have to evacuate, as well as the items that would be helpful if your pet is separated from you. Below is a list of items you should include in your pet emergency kit:
A copy of important veterinary records (rabies certificates, vaccinations, etc.)
A copy of registration documents
A current photo of your pet with a description on the back (breed, gender, weight)
Your family’s contact information
Medications (and instructions)
A supply of flea and heartworm preventatives
A 3-day supply of food in a waterproof container or canned food
A 3-day supply of water (*The Waterfull Barrel holds 30 gallons of water, which will sustain a family of 4 for 7 days. Plus, two gallons left over for your four-legged friends.)
Food and water dishes or bowls
Bedding, or other comfortable material for sleeping such as a towel
Litter and litter box for cats
Pet first aid kit (*See our DIY Section to learn how to make your own!)
The Center for Disease Control has a helpful Pet Disaster Kit Checklist that you can print out and use as a guide when preparing your pet’s kit.
If Your Pet Gets Lost…
Emergencies are scary for everyone, so it is not surprising that pets often run away or get lost during these types of events. If this happens to you, notify animal control upon returning home. Use the contents of your pet’s emergency kit, such as the photo and description, to help you create search handouts. If your microchip information is up to date, then when your pet is found, you will be contacted to retrieve your missing family member.
What to Do When You Get Home
Finally, just because the evacuation orders have been lifted doesn’t mean it is safe for your pets. It is important for you to check for damage before any family members, including pets, enter the property. Additionally, if the area suffered significant damage, your pet may not be able to recognize landmarks or smells and may become lost.
Additional Resources for Pet-Lovers
The following websites will be helpful as you create your emergency preparedness plan for your pets:
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Free Pet Safety Pack
FEMA’s Pet Preparedness Infographic
Enough water for your family and your four-legged friends. The Waterfull Barrel holds 30 gallons of water, which will sustain a family of 4 for 7 days (or 1 gallon per person per day). Plus, two gallons for your four-legged friends.
(Photo: Delaware Online)
Why a Pet Emergency Plan is a Must
As Hurricane Dorian looms, hundreds of evacuated pets arrive in Delaware (Delaware Online)
Build a Pet First Aid Kit
While we often have first aid kits for our human family members, we don’t tend to have them for our pets. It is easy to build your own pet first aid kit that can be stored in your pet disaster kit. The following list of items comes from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:
Absorbent gauze pads
Cotton balls or swabs
Click here for the rest of the list!
Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide
Scissors with a blunt end
An oral syringe
Liquid dishwashing detergent
Saline eye solution
Artificial tear gel
Contact info for your veterinarian and local veterinary emergency clinics
How to Store Water for Emergencies
City Prepping, a popular YouTube channel, reviewed the Waterfull Barrel. In their YouTube review of the Waterfull Barrel, they explain why the product is revolutionary and how easy it is to store water in case of an emergency.