Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations.
- Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified.
- Call the closest chapter of the American Red Cross for emergency information that applies to your community.
- You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school.
- Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.
- Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each type of hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
- Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
- Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
- You may have trouble getting through, or the telephone system may be down altogether, but be patient.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
- Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
- Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
- Check your insurance coverage – some emergency damage, such as floods, are not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
Before the disaster
- Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
- Have a current photograph
- Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
- Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal – carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
- Plan your evacuation strategy and don’t forget your pet! Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm’s way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.
- If you plan to shelter your pet – work it into your evacuation route planning.
During the disaster
- Bring pets indoor well in advance of a storm – reassure them and remain calm.
- Pet shelters will be filled on first come, first served basis. Call ahead and determine availability.
- Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
After the disaster
- Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home – often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost. Also, downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
- If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact the local animal control office to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Bring along a picture of your pet if possible.
- After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive – monitor their behavior.
- Proper identification including immunization records
- Ample supply of food and water
- A carrier or cage
- Muzzle, collar and leash
Contact your veterinarian or local humane society for further information on preparing your pets for an emergency.