If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. When planning your family for disaster, don’t overlook the needs of your cherished family pets. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or any of the all hazards depends largely on emergency planning done today.
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), while you make a plan to prepare for your family also consider your family pet. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets:
· Consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency
· Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself.
· Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
· Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Pet owners can receive free preparedness tips on how to best prepare for emergencies at http://www.ready.gov/animals or by calling 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585. Learn what to put in a pet Emergency Supply Kit, how to develop a pet care buddy system, and how to make plans in advance for neighbors’ pets if they need to evacuate. In addition, instructional videos on family and pet preparedness are available at www.ready.gov/psa.
This September, remember to prepare your entire family, including your pets.