In times of crisis, people are often told to leave their homes for a “short time,” only to find that they cannot return for days or even weeks. As a result, community animal shelters are overwhelmed with lost and separated cats and dogs following a disaster. The past year has reminded us emergencies are not only natural disasters but could be family illnesses and injury too.
Being prepared is the best step families can take to ensure that they and their pets are ready to face an emergency. Knowing that a kit is packed and ready to go can put families at ease.
“Helping our residents and pets during an emergency is extremely important to our organization.” Said Patty Quimby, Executive Director of Talbot Humane. “The Talbot Animal Disaster Services Team has been in place and ready to assist our residents during weather or other catastrophic emergencies where an emergency shelter would need to be opened since 2010. Providing the tools to our residents to be prepared in the event of an emergency is a priority.” Quimby adds, “Preparedness saves lives.”
We encourage families to build a Pet Emergency Go-Kit and store it with the rest of the family’s emergency preparations:
- Basic first aid supplies
- A 3-day supply of bottled water and the pet’s preferred food, held in a waterproof container
- Safety harness and leash
- Waste clean-up supplies
- Medications and a copy of the pet’s medical records
- List of veterinarians and local pet care organizations
- List of the pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues
- Comfort items, such as a blanket or favorite toy, to help keep the pet calm and comfortable
Tips to Help Ensure Your Pet’s Safety in an Emergency:
- Ensure your pet’s identification by using a microchip or collar ID tag, and make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.
- Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
- Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
- Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. These shelters that do accept pets are not drop and go shelters- you must reside in the shelter for your pets to be admitted. We highly recommend owners scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
- Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
- If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.
Families looking to learn more about disaster preparedness and safety can contact Talbot Humane (410)822-0107.