The sky is turning an eerie shade of green and tornado sirens are going off. Are you prepared for what might happen next? After an EF5 tornado ripped through Joplin, MO, a lot of people and animals were displaced from their homes. I volunteered in the area just days after and quickly came to the realization that I would not have been prepared if something as devastating as that happened here. If you’re anything like me, pets in the household are more like family members. So, when I came home I quickly went into research mode and found a list of things I needed to put together for my fur-children. With the first week in March being severe weather awareness week, I’d like to go over a few things that FEMA recommends having handy in a disaster kit for your furry friends.
- Food- Keep at least three days of food in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Water- Store at least three days of water specifically for your pets, in addition to water for yourself.
- Medications- Keep an extra supply of the medications your pets regularly take in a waterproof container.
- First aid kit- Kits can be modified to your pets specific needs, however most include cotton bandages, bandage tape and scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. If possible, include a first aid reference book.
- Collar with ID tag, harness, and leash- This is a good time to mention micro-chipping your pet. Once placed by your veterinarian, the microchip should be registered in the owner’s name with all contact information. Also, your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. In your kit, include a backup collar, leash and ID tag. Keep a copy of vaccine and medical records in a waterproof bag.
- Crate or other pet carrier- If you need to evacuate in an emergency situation, having a safe and sturdy crate or carrier allows for easy transportation.
- Sanitation- Include pet litter and litter box if applicable, newspaper, towels (paper and cloth) trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
It’s really easy to put together these simple items to ensure your pets safety during a natural disaster. It is important to make sure everyone in the household is aware of the location of the emergency kit. Make sure to do frequent inspections of the kit to ensure food and medications do not become expired. As always, be aware of your surroundings and stay up to date on weather advisories!