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After Hurricane Irma hit south Florida in the fall of 2017, local animal control services recovered many abandoned pets. Some were in pens or enclosed yards, some tied up and unable to escape. Abandonment is one of the worst things a person can do to their pets. Yet when a disaster strikes and a family is not prepared, it is often the pets who are neglected. When a disaster happens, the best way to keep you and your pets safe is to have a good disaster plan in place beforehand.
The Humane Society of the US is our country’s most effective animal protection agency. Please consider donating your unwanted car to help them in this important cause. You can donate your vehicle online or by giving us a call, and we can have your car towed for free within 48 hours.
Today we are teaming up with the Humane Society of the United States to encourage everyone to be ready in case of an emergency by creating a disaster plan that includes your pets.
How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Natural Disasters or Emergencies
1. Always Have on Collars with Identification Tags
Make sure your dog or cat has a collar on with an ID tag that has your most current contact information. Have your pet microchipped and ensure that the registration is in your name. However, the typical person who may find your pet will not be able to scan the microchip, so be sure the information on your pets tag is current. You may want to have your cell phone number on your pet’s tag.
2. Organize and Create a Disaster Kit
If you haven’t already put together a disaster kit, now is a great time to start and one day you will be so happy you did. It should include for each member of your family:
- Food and water for up to 5 days
- Pair of good shoes
- Complete extra change of clothes
- First aid kit
- Medications and medical records
- Other necessary items needed. Check out this American Red Cross list of items.
You should also include similar items for your pets. Check through a Pet Disaster-Preparedness Kit list to ensure you have all that you need for your pet.
3. Choose a Safe Place to Go Beforehand
Most emergency shelters do not allow you to bring your pet with your. Before there is a disaster, call your local emergency management office to learn if a person can be evacuated with their pets and if there will be shelters in place that take families and their pets.
- Find motels and hotels outside your community beforehand that will accept pets and learn about any restrictions they have. Keep this pet-friendly list handy, and call for a reservation as soon as you believe you will have to leave your home.
- See if any of your family or friends outside of your area would be willing to let your family and pets stay with them in the event of a disaster.
- Ask your local animal shelter is they provide care for pets in an emergency. Remember though, that shelters usually have limited resources and will be inundated during an emergency.
4. Make Plans for Your Pets In Case You are Away From Home
In the event that you are away from home when a disaster or evacuation is necessary, make arrangements well beforehand with someone you trust to take and house your pets. Or to take your pets and meet with you at a prearranged location. Give this person a key to your home and show them where your pets will likely be inside, and where the supplies needed are kept. The key is to arrange for this now, before anything happens.
5. Keep Your Pet With You Whether You Evacuate or Stay
Remember that if it isn’t safe for you, then it is not safe for your pet either. If there is an evacuation order, you may not know how long you will be out of the area. Pets left behind can easily be lost, injured or killed. If things look dangerous, bug out early instead of waiting for the official evacuation call. Some folks who did wait until an evacuation order were told that they had to leave their pets behind. If you must stay home and wait it out, plan beforehand a safe area in your house where you can all wait it out together. Here are some tips when staying at home:
- Close off small holes and areas where cats might try to hide.
- Move dangerous items like chemical products or heavy tools stored in the area.
- Have your supplies in a room you can designate as your “safe room”.
- Listen to the radio often and do not come out until you know it to be safe.
6. Be Aware Afterwards
Your home and surroundings might be quite different after a disaster and that may be a hard adjustment to children and your pets. Here are some tips.
- Keep an eye on your pets and do not let them loose to roam. Familiar smells and landmarks may be gone or changed and it can make your pet disoriented and get lost.
- Keep pets in carriers or on leases while you asses the damage.
- Work to get your pet into a normal routine as soon as you can and be patient with them. They may display some behavior issues due to the stress from the situation.
- If there has been a flood, be careful to look around for wild animals that could have been displaced while seeking for protection. Wild animals can be dangerous to you and your pet.
The key to keeping everyone safe in a disaster is to plan ahead of time and prepare. We hope that these tips can motivate your to plan now for the protection of the people and animals you love. When you donate a car to this animal charity, you will be helping to protect and rescue these cherished pets.