For many people, their pets are a part of their family. In fact, studies have shown that many people will ignore mandatory evacuation orders if they cannot take their pets with them.
Who can forget the heartbreaking videos and stories of suffering pets left behind in the nasty aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? In light of that, many shelters today have made special accommodations for pets.
Have you thought of what you would do with your pets if a disaster struck?
Here are some pet disaster preparedness ideas from The Humane Society of the United States:
1. If you evacuate, take your pet. This is the single most important thing you can do to protect your pet. Animals left behind can by easily injured, lost, or killed. If you evacuate, even if you think you may be gone only a few hours, take your animals. Once you leave, you have no way of knowing how long you will be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets. Also, leave early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order.
Quick Security Tip: If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.
2. Don’t forget your pets’ identification. Your pets should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times.
Quick Security Tip: It’s a good idea to include the telephone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area because if your pet is lost, this telephone number will be answered even if you’re away from your home.
3. Find a safe place for your pets ahead of time. Since evacuation shelters generally don’t accept pets (except for service animals), you must plan ahead to ensure that your family and pets will have a safe place to stay.
Quick Security Tip: Some places to check include hotels and motels, friends, relatives, boarding facilities, and veterinary offices, as long as they are outside the danger area. And, as a last resort, ask your local animal shelter.
4. If you don’t evacuate, and your family and pets must wait out a disaster at home, be sure to identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.
Quick Security Tip: Keep your dogs on leashes and cats in carriers. Also, have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies.
5. Have a disater kit for your pets: Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers, current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated, and to prove that they are yours, food and water for at least three days for each pet, bowls, cat litter and litter box, and a manual can opener, information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care, pet beds and toys,
These are a few of the basic pet disaster plan ideas. For more details, go to The Humane Society of the United States website at www.hsus.org, and check with your local emergency management officials and your veterinarian.
My Final Thoughts: Just as you plan for your family, it is important to think about your special family members — your pets. Proper disaster preparation now will pay off later.
Remember: If the conditions are unsafe for you, then it is also unsafe for your pets.
I wish all those affected by Hurricane Ike to be prepared and, of course, always stay safe!
Note: If you manufacture or distribute any security, safety, emergency preparedness, homeland defense or crime prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
Copyright 2008 by Bruce Mandelblit
“Staying Safe” with Bruce Mandelblit (www.Mandelblit.com) is a regular column for the readers of Newsmax.com and Newsmax.com magazine.
Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer.
Bruce writes "Staying Safe," a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety, and crime prevention.
Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky colonel — the state’s highest honor — for his public service.
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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