Natural disasters don’t let us know when they’re coming, and when they do arrive, the results are often devastating.
Rescue efforts are often swift to arrive but overwhelmed with work. As we have seen all too many times before, pets as well as humans are at risk in these massive weather events. Days after Hurricane Harvey landed in 2017, rebuilding efforts in southeastern Texas had yet to begin in earnest. The waters had not even fully receded. Because of this, some animals were stranded for weeks.
There’s no best way to avoid a natural disaster, but you can be ready when one strikes. Having a reliable contingency plan of action as soon as the first raindrops fall is always better than not having a plan at all.
Keep this checklist handy, and both you and your furry friends will be able to weather the storm in safety.
5. Be ready to leave
In the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane or tropical storm, you and your pet need to be ready to evacuate immediately. Along with a pet carrier and a leash, you should make sure your pet is microchipped and that your information with the manufacturer is up to date, the CDC maintains.
You can familiarize your animal with the carrier, and the experience, by practicing on a few longer rides. The traffic is often very heavy when entire cities are asked to evacuate.
4. Pack a bag
Don’t worry about your swimwear. Food, water, and safety should be your main concerns when you put together an emergency bag. It doesn’t even have to be pretty, so long as it’s easily portable.
Waterside Kennels Mysteries lists extra kibble, leashes, collars, and basic first-aid supplies as essential items in your bag. Depending on the nature of the storm and the traveling ahead, it may be worthwhile to pack camping supplies like a tarp, rope, flashlight, and bungee cords.
3. Have a place to stay
While it’s always ideal to have accommodating relatives in drier climates, sometimes people leaving disaster areas do not have that option. Hotel or motel bills can add up after indeterminate weeks, while shelters are available but provide little privacy. But both options may be preferred to potentially being washed away at home. When you’re bringing an animal along, you should also find out if your destination is pet-friendly, as Irresistible Pets maintains some relief shelters will turn animals away at the door.
Those who live in disaster-prone areas should decide where they will go before it’s too late. Finding shelter becomes difficult as massive weather events progress and thousands of others seek the same. According to the CDC, arrangements should be made with a neighbor or local friend or family member if you do not have a car.
2. Talk To Friends And Family
Massive weather events are international news. When disaster strikes, the whole world watches and often sends help. But it’s hard to know who needs help when they can’t be reached. Keeping in frequent contact with close friends and family members during a disaster will let them know if you are doing okay, or, more importantly, if you are not.
Waterside Kennels Mysteries recommends keeping an updated list of numbers to call, as well as routes and destinations to take to safety. It’s not uncommon for phone and internet services to become disconnected as conditions worsen.
1. Know What’s Happening
However bleak the forecast may be, it’s critical to stay calm and stay updated during a hurricane or tropical storm. Knowing where the weather is at its worst, and where you may find safety, is invaluable information. A number of websites and apps can help smartphone users make the most of the situation, as can checking in with the details published by larger organizations and first responders.
The Red Cross and ASPCA both offer helpful smartphone apps for those accompanying animals during a disaster. They offer tips and resources for making it through the storm safely, Irresistible Pets reports, which is the ideal outcome of any such emergency.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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