Before Disaster Strikes
We remember all too clearly the complete devastation a natural disaster can cause. Since your pet depends entirely on you for safety and protection, your personal plan is vital to their survival.
Everyone can benefit from having a household evacuation plan in place. It is the best way to protect your family in case of disaster, whether it is a large-scale natural catastrophe or an emergency that causes you to leave your house temporarily. Every disaster plan MUST include your companion animals!
Microchip your animals and keep up-to-date identification on your dog or cat at all times. Make sure the collar is properly fitted (avoid chain link collars for dogs and use breakaway collars for cats). It is a good idea to have a friend or family members phone number on your pet’s identification tag in case you cannot be contacted.
Have current color photographs of your pet showing and distinguishing markings with your emergency supplies. If you and your pet become separated, these photographs will help identify him.
If you evacuate, take your pet! Your animal’s best protection is to be with you. Remember, taking your pet requires special planning so take the following steps:
- Locate a safe place for your pet before disaster strikes. Evacuation shelters generally do not accept animals.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area. Ask whether they accept pets, under what conditions, and if there are restrictions on their size and number of pets.
- Ask out of the area friends or family members if they will provide foster care for you and your pets in times of disaster.
- Evacuate to the safest location you can get that is as close as possible to home. Long distance evacuation can be a problem when highways are crowded.
- When planning for hurricanes, identify your evacuation zone and level to determine if and when you would need to evacuate. Be prepared for one category higher than the one being forecast, because hurricanes often increase in strength just before making landfall.
Pet evacuation preparations:
- Portable carriers
- Food/water bowls Supply of your pet's food and water in plastic bottles
- Litter and litter box for cats
- Supply of your pet's regular medication
- First aid kit Health records, including vaccination records
- Instructions on your pet's feeding schedules and diet, medications, and any special needs
Disaster Animal Response Team
The Clay County Humane Society is a part of the county’s disaster plan and has a trained Disaster Animal Response Team (DART). The team is not only ready to lend assistance in our own community but will travel as needed to other parts of the country.
At the request of the Humane Society of the United States, CCHS was called into action to assist in the Florida Firestorm of 1998 and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with injured and displaced animals in Mississippi and Louisiana. After experiencing the affects of a disaster firsthand, the Society understands the importance of this program more than ever. We are prepared should future events bring further devastation and continue to train should we be needed.
As evidenced in the past, our DART team will be an asset to any area in the event of a disaster. For more information about DART contact us at: (904) 276-7729.
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