Natural (and not so natural) disasters can happen at any time. And even though we are almost through the normal tornado season here in the Midwest, it is vital to keep in mind the importance of preparing for the unexpected.
While the Department of Homeland Security has some great resources for overall disaster preparedness (a really good first run checklist for supplies can be found here), we just don't feel like they go far enough for those of us with furry family members. So here is a quick run down on what we have done for our family, so our people, and pets, are prepared for when a natural disaster strikes.
Make a Plan & Practice, Practice Practice
An good emergency plan goes a little further than everyone knowing where to go in the basement for a tornado. It also needs to detail things like - who is responsible for bringing the gerbil, and who is in charge of which dog? Where do we go if the basement is not accessible? If we get split up, where would we go to meet up again? How do you get out of the house from the second floor if the stairs are blocked? Try to think of everything you would need to do, where you would go, and how you would accomplish these things to safely get through any kind of emergency that may occur.
You will probably need to have more than one plan for different contingencies. For example, what you need to do in a tornado is in no way the same thing that you should do in a fire. These differences really should be spelled out - especially if you have kids and / or un-caged pets in your home that can easily get confused and frightened under unusual circumstances.
While practice is always a given for any disaster preparedness plans, I can't really say enough about how important it is for those of us with non-caged animals in our homes. Practicing and training with dogs and cats is extremely important to make sure that they are doing what you need them to do in an emergency. You need commands like "Basement" (for the dog to know to go to the basement) to be automatic for them so you are not wasting time having to pick them up and carry them to safety. If they know what to do, and you are in control, everyone gets to safety faster and easier.
Don't forget the pets in your prepper stash
There are MANY (and I do mean MA-NY) websites out there for survivalists and Doomsday Preppers that have lists upon lists of what you should stock to ensure you are ready for any emergency. And while I am not prepared to make commentary of the veracity of that kind of planning, I do believe in being prepared, at a minimum, for the simple emergencies that we all can face every day. And many of those include the ability to keep our furry (or scaly) friends as safe and comfortable as we can.
So , after your plans are made, make sure you have everything you need to make your plan work! - window ladders, food and water for a couple days, a battery powered radio, basic first aid supplies, extra pairs of glasses, a supply of necessary prescriptions, etc.
It is also helpful to have a separate and unique stash for the pets specifically. It allows you to have peace of mind that everyone will have what they need. Here's a quick list of some of the things you will want to have in your pet stash:
- Extra Leash and Collar
- 2 extra bowls - one for food & one for water
- An extra cage or tank
- Food & Water (in addition to what you keep for your family)
Flyers with a recent picture of the whole family including the pets
Having a stock of paper flyers with a recent picture of everyone in your family in your emergency stash is extremely important if you should get separated. You can use them to show emergency workers or hand out to local business to help you find your pets and loved ones without having to rely on electronic versions or photo albums that may not make it to your emergency location.
Pet First Aid kit
A first aid kit for your pet is very similar to your own. It's just a good idea to be prepared with smaller sizes of wraps, and utensils, as well as having extra alcohol pads, and cleaning supplies to be able to provide first aide to the pets as well as the humans.
Save my Pet Window Decal
This isn't really in the stash, but rather should be put on a front door or prominent window before an emergency happens - something super easy that you can do to make sure that emergency workers are aware that there are pets in your house. By using this type of notification, emergency workers are safer because they know to watch out for potentially dangerous situations with animals that are already stressed and more likely to strike out, as well as providing them with the information to rescue those pets if it is safe for them to do so. Just make sure that you note the date on the decal so rescue staff knows that the information is current. You can order a decal that matches your family dynamics right here on the Mydeye site by clicking here.