Last week’s horrendous hurricane disaster that left hundreds of homes flooded in South Carolina, has challenged us to look carefully at our own disaster-preparedness. Not every state faces the same natural disaster threats; California is quake-prone, Oklahoma has “Tornado Alley,” and the Southern states can suffer from devastating tropical hurricanes. If you and your pet find yourselves in an area where hurricanes occur, be sure to stay informed about what you can do to prepare in advance.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips
- Make sure your cat or dog wears ID. If you do not have a collar with your pet’s name and your phone number firmly clasped around the neck, see to it that you take care of this right away.
- Microchip your pet. As Hurricane Joaquin proved, natural disasters easily displace animals that were believed to be safely inside a home. In such a case, dogs and cats might wander for days in search of their families. The rain will make even the best canine noses almost ineffective, leaving them vulnerable and no way to go home. Microchip your pet so that you will be able to track down where they are when the weather has settled.
- Whenever there is a storm warning, bring your pet indoors. Rough winds, torrential rain, lightning can not only frightening your pet, but also put him in harm’s way. Be sure to keep them safe and close by the moment the warnings go out.
- Keep an emergency first-aid kit This is of the utmost importance when it comes to animal safety. Storms can cause serious wreckage and debris to be strewn in yards and streets. Having a first aid with disinfectant, antibacterial ointment, bandages and pain killers close at hand will be a peace-of-mind for you should injuries occur to your dog or cat.
- Buy a rescue alert stamp or sticker for your home. If there is ever a rescue team attempting to recover family members and pets from your home, this will notify the aid workers as to who and what they will be looking for, so that no animal will be left behind unaccounted for.
- Plan for the worst. Though no one likes to discuss worst-case scenarios, it is important to have a game-plan ready to go for the difficult days. Talk with your family about where your safe-haven point will be. Who is in charge of getting the dog or cat? Do they know where the leash is? Have a pre-packed easy-open dog or cat canned food supply in a getaway bag ready to grab in emergencies. If you ever need to evacuate, make sure that the hotel or friend’s house is animal friendly, and that everyone in the family knows what you plan to do.
- Finally: be tech-ready. Download the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ disaster preparation app that will help walk you through an easy to-do list for the moment when everything gets chaotic. You can pre-program the app with relevant info and data about your pet (such as medical records, your vet’s phone number, etc.) so that all the information will be at your fingertips even if there is no internet access. Protect your pet by staying prepared!