What Will You Do With Fido?

By Shaunda Rauch on May 08, 2013 from Emergency Services Blog via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Ever notice how many of those “family” stickers on the back of vehicles include Fido and Fluffy?  I happen to have a sweetheart of a beagle and a hellion kitten.  And they truly are a part of our family unit. So much so, that I have made sure that their needs will be cared for even when the unknown strikes.  Thankfully, I had taken some time to prepare for them when our carbon monoxide detectors went off a couple months ago.  As we were evacuating the house I was able to grab their container, knowing that my four-legged babies would be healthy and safe, just as my two-legged baby was.  Today, May 8, 2013, is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day and provides the perfect opportunity to take some time to create or update preparedness plans for your pets.
 
Studies show that more than 60 percent of household pet owners consider their pets to be very or extremely important to their families. Household pet owners in the United States spend approximately $45 billion dollars on household pets and pet supplies, with the amount increasing annually.
 
Some people are so concerned for their household pets and service animals that they may endanger themselves during a disaster.  This concern may impair their ability to make decisions about their own safety and that of rescue workers. Household pet owners have been injured or killed attempting to rescue their animals from burning buildings, or refusing to evacuate hazardous areas.  As you get your family and property ready for disasters, don’t forget to include your pets in your disaster preparedness plans.
 
 Plan for pet needs during a disaster by:
·         Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers. They might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
o    Service animals are welcome in emergency shelters as required by law (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990). This includes any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.
·         Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.
·         Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
·         Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
·         Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.
 
As you get your family and property ready for disasters, don’t forget to include your pets in your disaster preparedness plans.  For more information on how to prepare your pets for a disaster, visit http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals.


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