Being prepared

House after Hurricane KatrinaToday is the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction on the Gulf Coast. Those of us who watched it happen can not ever imagine living through it. While we can hope to never go through a disaster the size of Katrina, there may be a time where we have to evacuate with our pets. A disaster can happen at any time. Being as prepared as possible will help keep your pets safe.

Being prepared means-

– having a plan on where to stay if you must leave your home. If you do not have family, knowing what hotels take pets will save some stress.
– having a carrier or crate for your pet to stay in. Get your pet used to staying in a small area before an emergency happens.
– Food and water; bring enough for several days as you don’t know how long you may be away from home
-litter box for a cat, ferret or rabbit and plastic bags to clean up after your dog
– any medications your pet may need
-personal information on your pets; pictures and a description in case you are separated from your pet. Depending on the situation, there may be a possibility you must board your pet, information such as type of foods your pets eat, feeding schedule, any medical problems or behavior problems will be helpful.

The following sites offer information on preparing for emergencies with your pets, including what type of items to include in a disaster preparation kit-

American Red Cross
United Animal Nations
Ferret Emergency Response, Rescue and Evacuation Team

If any good came out of Katrina, it is that fact that the government is now aware of how important pets are to their families and that they need to be included in disaster plans. North Carolina State Animal Response Team (SART) was started after Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999. More than 3 million pets and farm animals were killed. SART works with different government and animal agencies beginning at the county level on disaster preparation, response and recovery. Nineteen states now have active SART organizations with another 5 states are working on developing teams. To find out more about SART, whether your state has a team and how you can get involved, visit SART USA.

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