For the next ‘Florence’!

A very timely article from Mother Nature News (MNN).

Hurricane Florence was not one isolated weather event. Across many continents extreme weather events are, regrettably, part of normal life.

The following article was published on MNN some six days ago.

I thought it should be shared with you all.

ooOOoo

How to evacuate your pet for a hurricane

Not all evacuation centers accept pets, so be prepared.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

MARY JO DILONARDO

September 12, 2018.
Residents deal with flooding after Hurricane Joaquin in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Ryan Johnson/North Charleston/Flickr)

When you’re in the path of a hurricane, you pack up what you need and get out as quickly as you can to get out of harm’s way. But do your evacuation plans include everything you need for keeping your pets safe too?

“It is crucial that residents are prepared to keep their pets inside if they are able to stay at home or to take pets with them if asked to evacuate in the face of this potentially destructive storm,” said Niki Dawson, director of disaster services for The Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.”
Finding shelter

National Guardsmen patrol near Vidor, Texas, rescuing people and pets trapped after Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: California National Guard/Flickr)

One of the most important things is knowing where you can find shelter with your pets.

During the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many rescuers and shelters refused to take animals, so many people either refused to evacuate without their pets or were forced to leave their pets behind. Dogs and cats were left to starve or die of dehydration or countless pets were sent to shelters, never to be reunited again with their families.

In response, the Pet Evacuation Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 was created to make sure state and local governments factor pets into emergency evacuation plans. It authorizes the use of funds for rescue workers including “the procurement, construction, leasing, or renovating of emergency shelter facilities and materials that will accommodate people with pets and service animals.”

The PETS Act is critical during an emergency, such as a hurricane, but can be misunderstood. There are posts circulating on social media, for example, insisting that all hotels, motels and shelters are required to accept pets during a hurricane.

The law mandates that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) take into account the needs of pet owners when developing disaster plans and setting up emergency shelters. It does not mention hotels and motels.

In most cases, this means there will be pet-friendly shelters. It doesn’t mean hotels and motels are required to accept pets if they weren’t pet-friendly before the storm. Many hotels and motels sometimes lift “no pet” restrictions in emergencies, but it’s smart to call ahead and ask.

Create an emergency kit for the road

Pet owners should have an emergency supply kit for their pets. Keep all records in a waterproof container. According to the Humane Society, this kit should include:

  • At least three days of food and water in airtight, waterproof containers
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Current photos and physical descriptions of your pets
  • Veterinary records, medications and first aid supplies
  • Comfort items like toys and blankets
  • For dogs: Leash, harness, pet waste bags and a pet carrier that can double as a sleeping area
  • For cats: Litter, litter box and a carrier

Other Key Emergency Plans

Invest in sturdy pet carriers and get your pets accustomed to them before you have to use them. (Photo: photo_master2000/Shutterstock)

Preparation is critical for any disaster. Taking these steps can make a big difference when you’re trying to get you and your pet to safety.

ID your pet. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and an up-to-date identification tag with your cellphone number and maybe even the number of a friend or relative outside of the area. Make sure your pet is microchipped and the registration is in your name.

Create an emergency contact list. Start with friends or family members who live nearby and can reach you or your pets quickly. Make sure they have keys, necessary codes or other information to access your home, grab the pets and evacuate.

Invest in sturdy pet carriers. Whether your pet goes to a relative or an emergency shelter, the animal will need a safe place to stay, says Toni McNulty, team lead for animals in disaster with HumanityRoad.org, a nonprofit organization that uses social media to fill the communications gap between those affected by disaster and those responding to disaster.

Try a pet carrier that’s large enough to hold food and water bowls and allows your pet to stand and turn around. Also, make sure it’s comfortable as your pet will likely be inside it for hours at a time during an emergency.

“Get it ahead of time and let your pet get used to it. Mark with contact information. If your pet winds up in an emergency shelter, that contact information is necessary,” McNulty says.

Carry photos that show you with your pet. To alleviate any confusion when it’s time to recover your pet from an emergency facility, be sure to carry photos that show you and your pet together. Attach those photos as proof of ownership on your pet’s crate. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have photos uploaded to the cloud, in case physical copies are lost.

Don’t wait for the second or third evacuation warning. If you live in an area that’s known for weather emergencies, act as soon as you hear a warning.

“When pets sense urgency, they hide and you lose valuable time trying to find them,” McNulty says. Keep leashes, collars and crates ready at a moment’s notice.

ooOOoo

Trust you agree that this is a very useful reminder of all the things we pet lovers should plan for. Indeed, there are some things that Jeannie and I should actively consider ahead of the next fire season.

Nonetheless, we sincerely hope it never comes to the emergency that this MNN article has in mind!

14 thoughts on “For the next ‘Florence’!

  1. Thanks for sharing. I even saw how someone took a plastic litter box with a handle and made a cat carrying evacuation tool. During my many evacs as a child, we always had somewhere to go and plenty of time to get there. Sometimes that is not the case.

      1. Yes, hurricanes, We lived in South Ga but parents had a cottage on the Fla. gulf coast around Tallahassee. I remember one time the waterline was almost to the ceiling. We had boarded the sliding glass doors but the pressure on the back door gave way. The hurricane before Katrina, same year, I think Harvey? was the last straw for the house and we had to tear down the house.

      2. It’s all very well me extending my sympathies but the truth is that I cannot even start to imagine what that must have been like! Water up to the ceiling!!! Ouch!!

  2. Good information to pass along. Wish I’d had it before our fire evacuation. My daughter slept in the truck with the dog and a shotgun next to her for the only night we stayed in the shelter. Never ever again. You are right about motels. La Quinta is one of the few that is pet friendly. I would never leave my pet behind and don’t understand how that happens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.