The recent disaster in Japan is a subtle reminder that life threatening disasters can occur very quickly and anywhere in the world. Pets and other animals need to be included in family emergency and evacuation plans.
In fact the Humane Society Of Canada has said that more then likely people won’t leave their homes during a disaster unless they can take their pet with them. I know I’d be one of them. So be prepared so you both can make it out safely.
Why you shouldn’t leave your pets behind
The BCSPCA advises against leaving your pets at home when you evacuate during a disaster. You don’t know what will happen to their surroundings during an emergency, Or when you will be able to go back to get them. What’s not safe for you is not safe for them.
How to ensure their safety
The first thing is to start with being prepared. Having things like animal emergency alert stickers on your windows and doors are so important, this will help rescuers know that your pet could be inside. You can obtain stickers from most pet stores. In the case you do not have anything indicating a pet is inside attach a note on your front door or window that will alert rescuers to the presence of a pet. This could also be something you put in your emergency kit. Other helpful things to put on your note are the name of your pet, age, breed and color, as well as alternate contact numbers are also helpful.
For large pets or farm animals, the Humane Society has a field guide for farmers and livestock owners of how to prepare for an evacuation.
How To Prepare
Ensure adequate identification. A collar can only do so much. This can get separated from your pet’s body, or the tag might be too damaged to read. Microchiping is a better option. You can have your vet insert a microchip under your pet’s skin, which should hold his identification and your contact information. Make sure you keep this up to date. And have alternate contact numbers just in case. We all know the story of the two dogs in Japan that made headline news. Well guess what? they were saved and they both had microchips so they were united with their owners very quickly.
Plan where to go. Shelters for people might not take animals. Some hotels will accept animals conditionally. In case you need to evacuate, make sure you will be going to a pet-friendly place.
Ensemble a disaster kit. You prepared a disaster kit for your family. So include items meant for your pet too. These should be in a waterproof container, and should include the following:
- Veterinary records (In case of pet left behind)
- Pictures of your pets (In case of lost or pet left behind)
- First aid kit
- Flashlight or any light source
- Any Medications
- Pet clean-up supplies
- Extra leash and collar
- Extra food, treats and water for your pet good enough to last two weeks
- Small Blanket
- Pet carrier
Have your pet carrier handy. You will need to transport your pet during the disaster, so have a pet carrier that is adequately sized. If you have birds, rodents, amphibia or very small animals cats or dogs you will need something portable so you can easily transport your pet safely.
I suggest watching a movie called MINE, Mine is a documentary about the essential bond between humans and animals, set against the backdrop of one of the worst disasters in modern U.S. history.
This gripping, character-driven story follows New Orleans residents as they attempt the daunting task of trying to reunite with their pets who have been adopted by families all over the country, and chronicles the custody battles that arise when two families love the same pet. Who determines the fate of the animals and the people involved? A compelling meditation on race, class and the power of compassion. MINE examines how we treat animals as an extension of how we view and treat each other. Available on Netflix.
Stay safe, I hope that we never need to put any of our Emergency Kits to use, at least I know you and your companions will at least be prepared, just in case.