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May 10th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recognize the need for pet owners to have an emergency plan in place for their pets. 

According to the ASPCA, the following are some easy steps to make ensure the safety of your pet in case of an emergency or natural disaster: 

1. Have a Plan. Make sure your family’s plan includes how you will transport your animal(s) in an evacuation, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options. Practice that plan at least yearly and share it with your family and friends.

 2. Build an Evacuation Kit. The Kit should include the supplies you will need for your pets, including a photo of your pet, medical records, vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions.  This kit should be clearly labeled and easy to carry and records should be kept sealed or made waterproof.  Make sure that everyone in your family knows where it’s kept.  Update your kit each time you change your smoke alarm batteries so it’s easy to remember. 

3. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on the weather, follow a projected storm’s path and don’t get caught unprepared. Staying informed also means knowing which shelters house both people and pets, monitoring possible road closures and having alternate travel plans.

4. Know Your Neighbors. It’s best to form a relationship with your neighbors well in advance of a disaster situation. Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home and when. If a disaster occurs while you’re at work, your neighbor may be the only one who can reach your pets.

5. Vaccinate and Microchip. If you’re ever required to shelter your pets, you’ll want them protected against disease. And the single most important piece of advice we can offer is to microchip your pets. It is truly their ticket home.

Check out this video on Pet Preparedness Day from the FEMA Deputy Administrator. http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/75356

What should you have in your pet’s emergency evacuation kit?   

The ASPCA recommends these items: 

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra collar or harness, as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records in a waterproof container with a two week supply of any medication your pet may require (Remember that food ad medications needs to be rotated out of your emergency kit every few months or than may go bad and become useless)
  • Bottled water – at least 7 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and rotate out every 2 months)
  • A traveling bag, crate, or sturdy container, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets, in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters or to prove that the pet is yours.
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys, and week’s worth of cage liner
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase or EvackSack, toys, scoopable litter

Visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness for more information and tips for pets other than dogs or cats.

More information on caring for animals in case of disaster can be found here http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals
And here: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/78847