Be Disaster Aware. Take Action To Prepare
According to FEMA, the likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. 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.
Use the Pet Owners Brochure on the FEMA web site and the Pet Instructional Video to help you create an emergency plan and kit for your pet.
Take the steps necessary to make preparedness a part of your everyday life. Prepare for the hazards that are most likely to occur where you live and work. Talk to your family and make a family disaster plan. But don’t stop there. Practice your plan. Practicing in advance of a disaster makes you better prepared to handle any emergency you may encounter.
Make disaster readiness manageable by taking one step at a time— start by learning your specific risks, then gather supplies for an emergency kit, and finally develop a family communications plan. By taking these small, but critical steps, over time you can be prepared for disasters. A useful guide to prepare for hurricanes is located at FEMA’s America’s PrepareAthon! website.
Throughout the month, FEMA will also offer tips to help pet owners be disaster ready, including ways to stay safe during a disaster. Follow FEMA online at www.facebook.com/fema to receive the latest preparedness updates.
For detailed information about how to be ready for severe weather in your area, including a list of items you will want to have in your emergency kit, visit http://www.ready.gov/, or the Spanish site at www.listo.gov.