September is National Preparedness Month
From power outages to tornados, from fires to floods, disasters are unpredictable and unexpected. When making a disaster plan, many people forget about protecting their furry friends. Sadly, four-legged family members are often left behind by owners who are not prepared to properly care for them during or after a disaster. However, with a little extra planning and preparation, pet owners can ensure all of their loved ones remain safe in the midst of disaster.
The Humane Society of Missouriís Animal Cruelty Task Force knows first-hand what itís like to see pets exposed to the perils of natural disasters as well as the importance of being prepared. When Missouri experienced intense flooding in January of this year, the Animal Cruelty Task Force Disaster Response Team opened temporary emergency shelters and made numerous rescues of pets stranded in life-threatening situations. More than 70 pets were rescued or brought in to the Humane Society of Missouriís emergency boarding facilities, giving worried owners peace of mind in a time of fear and discouragement.
National Preparedness Month is a great time to put a plan in place for the family, including pets, so all are ready should disaster strike. The Humane Society of Missouriís Animal Cruelty Task Force offers these simple tips, which could be the key to survival:
- Create a plan. Create an evacuation plan that includes your pet, and inform close friends and family. Identify pet-friendly places to go in times of distress and make sure your pet has identification, including a collar with ID tag and an up-to-date microchip, at all times.
- Make a disaster kit. Include medications, medical records, leashes/harnesses/carriers, current photos and descriptions of your pets, five daysí worth of food and water, and anything that will reduce your petís stress, like their bed and toys.
- If you evacuate, take your pet. Take your pet even if you only expect or anticipate being gone for a short time. Disasters are unpredictable and the length of time away from home can change without advance notice.
- Listen for information. Whether itís over the radio or on your phone, listening to news outlets is key to learning about updates on where to go and what to do during an emergency.