May 23, 2018
Hurricane Season Begins June 1
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and the preliminary forecasts do little to ease the threat of a disaster striking. Recently, a top researcher predicted a repeat of the "very active" 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, with at least eight hurricanes and a good chance several will hit the U.S. coasts. This warning should not be taken lightly, particularly by those of us who saw the destruction of these storms first hand with Hurricane Irma last year.
Are you prepared if disaster strikes? Take action now!
No one could yet forget the devastation that Hurricane Irma left behind as it tore through Florida and the Southeast U.S. Thousands of residents were displaced and remained homeless for months following the storm. Additionally, thousands of pets and wildlife species were also displaced. Those that survived the damaging winds and rising waters were left to fend for themselves until help could arrive.
Disaster preparedness is essential for your family and for your pet. A household emergency plan that considers evacuation measures for each member (two and four-legged) is vital to the safety of your family. Emergency shelters open when dangerous conditions threaten and most areas have followed Congress’ plan to incorporate pets into these shelters. Many shelters, like those in Jacksonville, for example, do require pre-registration with health and vaccination verification, so you cannot afford to wait until disaster strikes to plan for your pet.
Start making a disaster plan now
Ideally, you should have a disaster preparedness plan that includes a place for long term stays (such as a relative’s home away from danger) since shelters can be very crowded and are generally most prepared for short term (one month) housing and care. Your emergency plan should also include a person (such as a relative or friend) that may be used as a contact liaison so that others may find you and know you are safe. Remember, also, to prepare and keep readily available your insurance policy information, medications for you and your pets, plenty of fresh water and non-perishable food, identification, pictures of household family members and pets, a copy of your pet’s medical records and a change or two of clothes. Your evacuation pack should not be so large that it would hinder your escape to safety (or would not be permitted on evacuation transportation is applicable), but should contain these items, at the very least.
As always, we will continue to hope that we will all be spared the devastation that these hurricanes bring. However, should we be faced with disaster, preparedness NOW is crucial to your – and your pet’s – survival then.