FRESNO – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared May 11 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. This declaration stresses the importance of making advance plans to protect your pets if disaster strikes.
“A majority of pet owners consider their pets to be family members,” say Naomi Tobias, founder and CEO of the Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT).
“When disasters strike, we know there will be animal owners who will re-enter a secured evacuated site to rescue their pets, or worse – risk their lives to save them. Being prepared in advance helps to ensure the safety of both the owner and their animals.”
Here are some recommendations from CCADT for disaster preparedness for animals:
- Develop an Evacuation Plan: Create a plan for your family and pets. PRACTICE this plan – don’t wait until you have to evacuate. Determine in advance several locations where you may go – i.e. family or friends, pet-friendly hotels/motels, etc. Create a “buddy system” with a trusted friend or neighbor to evacuate your pets in case you are not home.
- Pet Identification: All pets need identification. Collars and updated ID tags are necessary but may not be enough. We recommend micro-chipping your pet. Many large and small animals can also be micro-chipped. Talk to your veterinarian about your options.
- Photos of You & Pet: Have photos of you and your pet together. Photos may help for reunification if you and your pet become separated. Place a copy of the photo(s) in your pet emergency kit.
- Pet Emergency Kits: These kits should have pertinent information on your pet. Include medical records, medications, contact information, extra leashes, food & water (a minimum of 7 days), extra bowls, cat litter, toys, etc. More information can be found on at ccadt.org.
- Vaccinations: It is imperative that your pet is updated on vaccinations. If they need to be placed in an emergency animal shelter, it is important for their health.
- Pet Carriers: Each of your pets should have an appropriately sized carrier. Attach contact information and pet information on the carrier.
- First Aid Kit & First Aid Reference Book: Have a small first aid kit available. Common injuries are to the pads of feet, tails and ears. First Aid supplies include: sterile gauze pads, bandage tape, “Vet Wrap,” bandage scissors, sterile eye rinse, rubber gloves (for yourself).
- For Large Animals: If you own livestock, equine or other large animals, you also need to make a plan to evacuate. Do you have a trailer or a means to transport them? If you don’t, locate people with trailers who may be able to assist you. We recommend that you evacuate EARLY if you have a high number of large animals; otherwise, be sure you have a shelter-in-place plan.
For more information on disaster preparedness for small and large animals, visit our website at ccadt.org. Click on the BE PREPARED link.
Founded in 2011, the Central CA Animal Disaster Team is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Fresno that serves seven counties in the San Joaquin Valley. During disasters, CCADT assists emergency response agencies with displaced small and large animals. Since 2013, CCADT has responded to 31 wildland fires, 3 flood incidents, and multiple single/multi-family home fires.
For additional information on the CCADT, please visit www.ccadt.org.