A 19-page emergency planning guide to help people manage pets during natural disasters has been prepared by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
The association is a non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals.
The group has made the document available free on its website to raise awareness about the importance of comprehensive plans and emergency preparedness to ensure the safety of pets during natural disasters.
The guide, prepared by the association’s emergency planning committee, includes specific recommendations for monitoring and coping with tornadoes, thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, winter storms, extreme heat, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes.
“Pet parents must establish plans to help reduce the severity of an urgent situation,” association president John D’Ariano said.
“Thorough preparation is essential for the safety of your entire family – including your furry friends.”
While appropriate actions vary depending on the specific emergency, several responses are applicable to most situations, including:
- Complete pet identification forms for each animal in the household.
- Familiarize yourself with city, county and state emergency plans.
- Crate pets before they are able to sense danger, to prevent them retreating to challenging hiding places.
- Attach alert stickers to your windows and doors to show rescue workers that there are pets in the home that need rescuing.
- Plan several evacuation routes with your pets in case a route is blocked. If you have horses or livestock, make arrangements ahead of time for a temporary shelter, such as parks, animal shelters, rodeos, fairgrounds, or family and friends’ homes that may be options available to you. Pack portable fencing for a temporary corral.
- If possible, keep a large animal trailer hitched at all times to a dedicated vehicle with a full gas tank for a smooth and quick evacuation with horses and livestock.
- Provide plenty of comfort and attention to pets after the emergency has passed.
- At all times, it is important to have an emergency supply kit for your pet, including a pet identification form with photos, microchip number, shot records, food, water, veterinarian and emergency contact information (including one contact outside of the emergency area), first aid supplies, and a three-week supply of medications. Keep the emergency kit in a sealed, waterproof bag or container.
The association stressed the importance of simple identification tags.
The guide can be downloaded from www.petsitters.org.