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Don't Forget to Include Pets in Disaster Plan

May 29, 2007

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Stephanie Blozy

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Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, flash floods and wildfires. To survive these disasters, you need to have a survival plan in place before the event occurs. As you make your plans, don`t forget to include all family members, including your pets! To learn more about developing an emergency plan for pets, I talked to Kate Mindlin at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The HSUS is to pets what the American Red Cross is to people. After any type of disaster, the HSUS deploys a special response team to help pets and livestock. In the aftermath of any disaster, they are often busy going door-to-door looking for abandon pets and setting-up emergency shelters and clinics for stray and injured animals. Many a happy reunion between pet and owner are the result of the HSUS`s work.

Kate shared the key emergency plan elements that should be completed before the threat of severe weather is upon you:

  1. Make an emergency supply kit for each pet that includes:

  • 3-day supply of food and water in waterproof containers
  • Your pet`s medications
  • Leash/harness packed in a waterproof container
  • Veterinary records
  • Current photo of your pet
  • Several small toys
  • Crate or kennel

  • Learn your official evacuation routes. Put maps outlining these routes in your car.
  • Find pet-friendly places where you can both evacuate to if necessary. This can be a friend or relative`s home, motel, animal shelter/veterinary clinic or a "people shelter" that also allows animals.
  • Designate a "safe room" in your home and put your emergency supplies there in advance. Be sure to have plenty of newspaper, plastic bags, puppy training pads and cleaning supplies on hand to help deal with pet waste.
  • Kate added that once a weather alert has been issued, bring your pets indoors and keep them under your direct control so that if you have to evacuate, you will not have to spend time trying to find them. Stay in your safe location until your local TV station or weather radio tells you it`s safe to venture out again.

    For more information, including tips for preparing horses and livestock, visit the HSUS Disaster Center at www.hsus.org/disaster.

    And don`t forget to share your pet`s photo with WeatherBug. Click the "Photos" button on your WeatherBug for more details!

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