Disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires, and tornadoes can occur at any time. Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you have to evacuate from your home. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Stock up on non-perishable items ahead of time, and have everything ready to go at a moment’s notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.
Your ‘Pet’s Emergency Supply Kit’ should include the following items:
• Food and water for at least (5) days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener (if you are packing canned food).
• Pet medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container along with a First Aid Kit. A ‘Pet First Aid Book’ is also good to include.
• A cat litter pan, litter and a scooper along with garbage bags to collect all pet waste.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses & carriers to transport pet(s) safely, and to ensure that your pet(s) can not escape. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around, and lie down in. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time while you are away from home. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pet(s). In the bottom of the cage remember to include bedding like a blanket or towel. These items also can be used to keep your pet(s) warm.
• A current photo and description of your pet(s) will help individuals identify them in case you and your pet(s) become separated, and to prove that they are yours.
• Pet beds & toys (these items can help to reduce stress).
• Information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian, in case you have to board your pet(s) or place them in foster care.
Other useful items to bring are newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and household bleach.
It is also an excellent idea to have your pet(s) microchipped. This high-tech identification device has been credited with reuniting hundreds of thousands of pets to their owners.
HAVE A PLAN
The single most significant thing that you can do to protect your pet(s) is to take them with you if you evacuate. If it is not safe for you to stay in the disaster area, then it is not safe for your pet(s) either! You must find a safe place to stay with your pet(s) ahead of time. Most evacuation shelters DO NOT allow pets.
The North Animal Care and Adoption Center in Titusville (321-264-5119) and the South Animal Care and Adoption Center in Melbourne (321-253-6608), unless they have evacuated, will be open to receive pets on an EMERGENCY BASIS ONLY.
There are a few ‘pet-friendly’ shelters that you will be able to evacuate to with your pet(s) – if there is a mandatory evacuation of your area. They are:
• Port St. John Community Center, 6650 Corto Road, Port St. John
• Community Center at Viera Regional Park, 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
Space is limited and is available on a first come, first serve basis. These shelters will be open to individuals and pets in MANDATORY EVACUATION AREAS ONLY.
CLICK on the links below to view a list of ‘pet-friendly’ hotels in the following areas:
• Brevard County
• Flagler County
• Indian River County
• Orange County
• Volusia County
* If you are not able to stay at a ‘pet-friendly’ hotel or motel, ask friends and relatives ahead of time, if they would be willing to shelter you and your pet(s) if necessary.
Other helpful things to do to prepare:
• Make a list of veterinarians and boarding facilities that might take animals during emergencies.
• Make a list of contact information and addresses for emergency veterinary hospitals (keep one copy with you and one in your ‘Pet’s Emergency Supply Kit’)
Another item to have is a ‘Pets Emergency Rescue’ Sticker to display on either your front door or window of your home. The sticker should include on it the number and types of pet(s) you have along with their name to alert firefighters and rescue workers in case of an emergency. Should you need to flee with your pet(s) remember to write the words ‘EVACUATED WITH PETS’ across the sticker to save rescuers time.
Talk with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about developing a buddy system to ensure that someone is available to care for your pet(s), if you are unable to do so. Listed below are some important phone numbers and web sites:
• The Disaster Response Team of The Humane Society of the United States has developed the CASEY Plan (Caring for Animals’ Safety in Emergencies during the Year) – www.hsus.org
• Ready – Prepare, Plan and Stay Informed www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY to learn what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region as well as emergency plans that have been established by your state and local government.
• American Red Cross of Florida’s Space Coast (serving Brevard, Flagler, and Volusia Counties)
♦ 341 White St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114 – (386) 226-1400
♦ 1700 Cedar St., Rockledge, FL 32955 – (321) 890-1002
• Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
♦ Pet Owners
♦ Livestock Owners
♦ Wildlife in Disasters
• Merritt Island CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) at 321-454-3970
Most importantly, remember that pet(s) are family members, and that they depend on you for their safety and care. We may not be able to prevent disasters from occurring, but we can be informed and well prepared to handle them.