The water rushed down the street and the sidewalk. The third round of thunderstorms rolled through town, overflowing the neighborhood’s draining system and clogging areas with debris. Sidewalks formed mud piles and car tires stopped rocks and branches. I observed all this from my front porch as hail cascaded from the sky and rain drenched the community.
Every year floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, snowstorms and other natural disasters hit towns and cities in the U.S. and around the world. Hurricane season officially begins June 1 yet over the Memorial Day weekend communities along the Gulf Coast prepared for a significant tropical storm – about the same time I watched a potential flash flood hit my community in Wyoming. As I stood on my front porch Sunday evening watching water rush like a raging river, I pondered if my family and I, with an entourage of four pets, could safely leave our home if needed.
We all need to be prepared to evacuate our homes in times of emergency. Here are five tips to handling a natural disaster situation:
Creating, and having on hand, a disaster preparedness kit can help a crisis run a bit smoother. Both the federal government’s Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the ASPCA offer more tips on caring for your pets during an emergency. Visit these websites for further information and to help you create a disaster plan and an emergency preparedness kit.
In addition to the official start of hurricane season, June is National Pet Preparedness Month. Are you and your pet prepared for a natural disaster? Following the above-mentioned tips and visiting websites noted above, you can be.
Although June is drawing to a close, this week is still a great time to remind pet parents that the month highlights the importance of being prepared for an emergency, not only for you and your human family, but also for your four-footed family members. June is Pet Preparedness Month, and whether the disaster is flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, or other natural calamities, being prepared is critical.
The federal government provides a website regarding preparedness and pets. Visit https://www.ready.gov/animals to learn about making an emergency plan for you and your pet, creating a shelter for your animal, and caring for your furry friend after an emergency.
The primary tip to get you started with emergency pet preparedness is to create a bag or pack (known as an “evac-pack"). Here are some of the things you should have in that “go-bag:”
The ASPCA provides further information on evac-packs as well as gives more disaster preparedness information. Visit their website at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness to learn more.
Additionally, AKC Reunite offers opportunity for county emergency management officials to obtain trailers to help pets during a disaster. Sadly, many states do not have a disaster relief trailer yet, especially those west of the Mississippi. Last year, my community received one of these important vehicles, the first and only one in the state; read the story here: http://casperjournal.com/community/article_02aad1db-1ae5-53d5-a5b8-b0822782a248.html
As rain falls, tornadoes and hurricanes break out, and wildland fires begin to crop up, let all of us who are pet parents think of our furry children as we plan for emergency situations.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.