June is an exciting month for many summer events. School is out for summer, blushing brides are preparing to walk down the aisle, swimming pools open, and families hit the roads for vacations. Unfortunately, not everything about June is wonderful.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially kicked off June 1st. According to Federal
forecasters this will
hopefully be a slower than usual season.
They are predicting eight to thirteen tropical storms and three to six
hurricanes. Of course, there is no way
to tell whether any of these potential storms will strike the U.S. coastline.
June 1st thru November 30th
Living in Louisiana, we are used to hurricane watches and warnings. It seems that we sit on pins and needles at least once every summer watching the weather forecast. We live at the top of the state, so we usually don’t get the same impact as our neighbors further south. Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped New Orleans off the map in 2005. We watched in horror as families were left stranded on rooftops or crowded into the Super Dome. In the aftermath of the devastation, the high school where I was working received hundreds of students who had been displaced. Many were still missing family members and most had no idea what had become of their pets. I have very strong opinions on the government reaction to that storm. I tend to climb on a soapbox and rant on this subject, so let’s just move on from there.
More recently, Hurricane Sandy slowly worked its way up the East Coast before hitting New Jersey and New York in late October of 2012. Although the government’s response was vastly improved compared to Hurricane Katrina, it was still a devastating storm.
The one thing that all hurricane victims have in common is the fear of separation with their family
pets. Many people refused to evacuate to
shelters, because they couldn’t bring their dogs or cats with them. According to a paper published by the
University of Colorado-No Place Like Home: Pet-to-Family Reunification AfterDisaster - after Hurricane Katrina more than 200,000 pets were
displaced. A staggering 95% were never
reunited with their families. I watched
news reports where the survivors were more upset over the loss of their pet
than their home.
|Contents to include in your Pet Emergency|
Go-Kit. (Photo credit: Hill's Pet Nutrition)
At the 2014 BlogPaws conference, the great people from Hill’s Pet Nutrition held a session on Disaster Preparedness. Now is the time to prepare for this season’s hurricanes. Here are seven tips to help ensure your pet’s safety.
1. Make sure your pet can be identified by either a microchip or collar ID tag and make sure the information is current.
2. Prepare a “Pet Emergency Go-Kit” of pet supplies that is accessible in an emergency. Your kit should include the following: first aid supplies and guide
book; a 3-day supply of pet food in a waterproof container and bottled water; a
safety harness and leash; waste clean-up supplies; medications and medical
records; a contact list of veterinarian and pet care organizations; information
on your pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues, comfort toys; and a
blanket. *The Petter is a great notebook
to store all of this information.
|The Petter can hold all your important|
3. Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let the first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your vet’s contact information. *You can receive a free decal from the ASPCA.
4. Know where you pet likes to hide in your house when they are frightened. You will need to be able to find them quickly in the event of an evacuation.
5. Have a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Many disaster shelters for people do not accept pets. Check hotels for pet-friendly policies or ask family or friends away from the storm area if you and your pets are welcome to take shelter with them.
6. Be sure to have an up-to-date photograph of your pet in the event that you are separated.
7. Consider taking a pet carrier or crate if possible to transport your best friend.
The team at Hill’s Pet Nutrition operates the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network shared these tips to remind pet parents of how to prepare for an emergency and encourages us to be proactive in preparing for a disaster long before the
hurricane storm watches and warnings are issued. The network is prepared to respond quickly with
shipments of pet food to communities impacted by disaster. In 2013, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network
delivered free pet food to twelve disaster areas throughout the United States. That is the way to be awesome Hill’s!
|Through the Hill's Disaster Relief Network,|
pet food is shipped quickly to shelters in
disaster areas. (Photo credit: SPCA of Texas)
In recent years, many people along the coastal areas have become complacent in reacting to storm warnings. The mindset of “It won’t happen to me.” is foolish. Nobody is invincible and as the saying goes, “You can’t fight Mother Nature.” Please don’t delay when storm warnings are issued. It could prove to be deadly to you and your pets.
For more information on how to keep your entire family together in the event of an emergency, here are some helpful links.
More Helpful Links:
Thank you to Hill’s Pet Nutrition for providing this helpful session and handouts. It is wonderful to know that a pet company goes above and beyond to keep our four-legged family members healthy and safe.