Animals In Disaster Digest
Mahatma Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. This is a good time to remember how important animals are to our lives, whether they are pets, animals that are raised for our food supply, or the many types of animals in the wild that make our world so interesting and beautiful. During October, some schools and libraries have special programs to teach children how to help their pets stay safe, as well as how to stay safe around wild animals, and the importance of protecting our wildlife.
If you have a dog, one way you can protect him or her is to use a safety restraint in your vehicle. The video below shows what can happen when a dog isn't restrained during a sudden stop or crash.
Our animals depend on us for their well-being. In return for responsible pet ownership, we are rewarded with their unconditional love and loyalty.
As Hurricane Irene was beginning to strike the East Coast of the U.S., we went on the air with Cynthia Segal of All Paws Pet Talk to discuss our mission of disaster preparedness for pets.
With those words, the President officially recognized National Preparedness Month. We certainly have plenty of evidence to show our need for preparedness. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, drought, wildfires, gas line explosions, house fires -- throughout the United States, from north, south, east, west and everything in between, we have seen one disaster after another this year.
Thousands of families have found themselves suddenly having to leave their homes and spend days in public shelters or with relatives or in other lodging -- inconvenienced in big and small ways, routines disrupted, homes lost, loved ones lost. If you were not affected directly, you probably know someone who was -- a neighbor, a co-worker, a Facebook friend, a Twitter follower.
As we show our gratitude for the many dedicated public and nonprofit organizations who have worked tirelessly to assist disaster victims, we also recognize our own need to improve our ability to take care of ourselves when disaster strikes. So let's get to it.
PREPARE AT HOME
Do you have an emergency plan for your family and pets? How about an emergency kit? Is it adequate to see you through at least three days? How about two weeks? If not, go to Ready.gov and get started. If you can't build your kit all at once, start with the basics and add items as you're able. Remember that in an emergency, it takes time for official responders to get to everyone. In a large disaster, there simply are not enough responders to help everyone at once. It's up to you to take care of yourself and your family until official help arrives. If your family knows the basics of emergency preparedness and has a well-supplied kit, they will be more likely to remain calm and take the necessary actions to stay safe.
PREPARE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Learn where the dangers are in your neighborhood. Where is it likely to flood first? What is the best evacuation route? Who are your most vulnerable neighbors ... the elderly, the homebound ...those who may need your help to survive? Learn what kind of preparedness is being taught in your child's school. Will they know what to do if an emergency strikes while they're in class?
PREPARE IN YOUR TOWN
Learn about your town's emergency management plan. Do they have one? Check to see if they have a website. Make a list of emergency phone numbers. Is there a Citizens Corps, a CERT Team, a Disaster Animal Response Team, a Search and Rescue Team, an American Red Cross branch? How many people are involved in them? You may be surprised to learn there aren't as many as you thought. You may want to volunteer.
Have you been through a disaster this year? We welcome your comments, and any tips you learned as you went through it.
MARYLAND: Rockville residents seeking shelter for their pets can drop them off in cages at the Bauer Drive Community Center at 14625 Bauer Dr. That facility opens at 4 p.m., according to county spokeswoman Esther Bowring.
MASSACHUSETTS: Northampton Pet-friendly shelter at Smith Vocational/Agriculture High School, Locust Street opens 5 PM Sat.
Pets welcome at all evacuation shelters across the state, per Gov. Christie. Bring your own pet supplies.
Notice to Millburn-Short Hills Residents: Millburn High School will be open as a reception center for people needing shelter, but officials stress that it is meant only for people with “no other place to go.” Evacuees will be taken via school bus to a regional American Red Cross shelter in Morris County. Emergency Management officials also want to make it clear that no pets, other than service animals will be allowed and people need to make other arrangements for their animals. Full story.
Bergen County: All regional shelters will be petfriendly - dogs and cats only.
Freehold Township: Monmouth County Youth Detention Center, 119 Dutch Lane has been converted into a temporary animal and homeless shelter in advance of Hurricane Irene.
Ocean County: Questions about moving livestock? Contact Lt. James Manley at OEM. Phone: 732-341-3451.
NEW YORK: Pet-friendly shelter in the Woodland building at the Suffolk Community College Eastern Campus.
Members of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team are working alongside the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the OEM’s Animal Planning Task Force to assist with the city’s disaster relief efforts. Full Article
NORTH CAROLINA: Horse shelters: Sen. Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Williamston and Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh.
Pitt County: Helen's Grooming World, 3198 E. 10th St., Phone: 378-5649 /758-6333 taking evacuated pets.
PENNSYLVANIA: Berks County Animal Rescue League and Humane Society will shelter pets for evacuees.
RHODE ISLAND: Tiverton woman offers shelter for pets for people who evacuate.
VERMONT: The Vermont Agriculture Agency advises livestock and pet owners to take storm precautions.
UPDATE - AUGUST 26, 2011
DELAWARE: State Veterinarian puts livestock and small flock owners on alert.
If it is decided to open shelters, the Lewiston Armory will be opened and pet-friendly.
MARYLAND: Talbot County Humane will offer a pet shelter.
NEW JERSEY: Cape May County Emergency Management Coordinator "urged pet owners to bring their animals, including those heading to shelters. He said it is important in light of the number of people who remained during Hurricane Katrina when it struck Louisiana. Those who are concerned about their pets but can’t take them along can drop them off at the Cape May County Airport on Breakwater Road in Lower Township, where arrangements for their care can be made." Full story
Toms River: The shelter at High School North will open Friday at 8 a.m., and will be pet-friendly.
Monmouth County: A pet shelter will be set up at Brookdale Community College in the Lincroft section of Middletown.
Westwood-Washington Township: The borough will open a shelter at the Westwood Community Center if needed, but pet food will not be available. Bring pet food, leashes and carriers for pets if you evacuate.
New York City: Pets are not allowed in city shelters. Service animals are allowed. If pet owners are required to leave their homes in an emergency, the city advises owners to arrange for family or friends outside the danger area to shelter their pet. Only “legal pets with proper identification” will be admitted into city shelters with their owners, the city says on its website. Read "Ready New York for Pets"
Southampton News: Experts Urge Residents to Remember Pets During Hurricane.
Suffolk County - Call Fire Rescue Emergency Service and listen to the radio for pet-friendly shelters.
Riverhead: The county will most likely open a shelter in Yaphank that will accept both people and pets.
Pamlico County- A shelter there will open Friday at 1 p.m. at Pamlico County Community College and will be pet friendly.
Pet-friendly shelters open Friday in New Hanover County, Brunswick County, and Pender County.
New Hanover County, Opening 6 p.m. Friday, Noble Middle School, 6520 Market Street, Wilmington (pet-friendly shelter)
Brunswick County: West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road, Shallotte (pet-friendly shelter)
Pets will be accepted at any shelter. However, West Brunswick HS is the only co-location shelter where pets will be sheltered in the same building as their owners. Pets taken to North or South High Schools will be transported to another location for sheltering. Full story
Guilford County Animal Shelter waiting to hear whether they will need to send their large trailer to transport or treat animals.
Camp LeJeune: Onslow County Animal response Teams manage a pet shelter co-located with a Red Cross shelter at Jacksonville Commons Middle School. Dogs, cats and caged birds are accepted as long as animals are accompanied by their owners and those owners stay in the adjacent emergency shelter.
An emergency shelter for residents with animals will also be set up at the Warren Recreation Center, or the old Mary V. Quirk building at 790 Main Street. Residents should be aware that anyone bringing an animal must provide proof of vaccinations. Residents are advised that they should bring their own blankets, pillows, and essential hurricane supply kit items. Emergency shelters will be staffed beginning at 6:00pm Sunday evening.
Chesapeake will open four shelters Friday at 7 p.m. at Oscar Smith High School, Hickory Middle School, Western Branch High School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. A pet shelter will be available at River Crest Community Center, 1001 River Walk Pkwy., and pet owners can stay at Oscar Smith High. Pet owners must provide food and bedding for their pet. A cage/crate and vaccination information should also be provided but are not required.
Hampton: "If shelters are opened, Bethel High School would be the first shelter. We would be prepared to allow residents who are sheltered there to bring pets. Residents should bring cages or crates, if possible, as well as pet food, medications and anything else the animals might require." Residents can find out about shelters close to them by calling 211.
UPDATE - August 25, 2011
FACEBOOK PAGE TO CONNECT EVACUEES WHO NEED SOMEONE TO CARE FOR THEIR PETS.
DELAWARE: If disaster strikes, you can bring your pet with you to emergency shelter.
Veterinarians begin preparations for Hurricane Irene. Full story
North Charleston, SC - Storm shelter has rules on pets
The Pitt County, NC Animal Shelter says it can house pets if owners are forced to evacuate. Pets must have rabies tags and proof of immunizations, and an identification tag on the pet's collar if possible. The shelter also suggests bringing clearly labeled collars, leashes, crates and carriers. If the animal is on a special diet they ask owners to provide the food. In order for pets to have the comforts of home, they recommend leaving blankets, towels or other bedding. Source
WHAT IS SART?
State Animal Response Teams (SART) are interagency state organizations dedicated to preparing, planning, responding and recovering during animal emergencies in the United States. Check out the NC SART here.
FIRST REPORTS - August 24, 2011
As Hurricane Irene approaches the Bahamas and heads toward the U.S. East Coast, we begin our reporting of information to help those with animals in the impacted areas keep them as safe as possible. We encourage you to help us add to these resources. If you hear of any pet-friendly evacuation shelters, official notices, or other helpful information, please click on "Comments" below and post it.
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, and have not yet prepared your family and your animals, we hope you will do it today.
Mandatory Evacuation of Ocracoke Island as Irene Approaches
TO FIND OUT IF THERE IS A PET FRIENDLY SHELTER IN YOUR AREA, CALL YOUR COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE OR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER. Some are listed at this website.
For those in FLORIDA, a pet-friendly shelter guide.
For those in SOUTH CAROLINA - Emergency pet shelter at N. Charleston Coliseum.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WEBSITES FOR STATES IN HURRICANE IRENE'S CURRENT PATH:
Hurricane Checklist for Pets
- Water: At least a three-day supply for each pet – one gallon a day for a dog, one or more cups a day for a cat.
- Food: At least a three-day supply for each pet.
- Medications: Three-day supply if your pet needs them.
- Food and water bowls and dish soap for cleaning.
- Collars and/or harnesses with ID tags, contact information attached.
- Leashes. Note: Do not leave animals outside during a hurricane. Use a leash when taking them out for “bathroom” duty. Pets sense danger and may try to run.
- A crate/carrier large enough for pet to stand and turn around. Mark the crate with a visible ID and contact information in case you must go to a shelter.
- A muzzle in case pet is injured or frightened. Pets that are stressed or in pain may bite.
- Blankets for comfort and warmth.
- Towels and paper towels for cleanup.
- Favorite toy
- Treats and/or rawhide to chew on. It will help relieve stress.
- First Aid supplies. See this list from AVMA.
- Pet medical records, immunizations, your contact information and contact information for someone living outside the affected area. In case something happens to you, they will be contacted. Also, a photo of you and your pet. This will help you reclaim your pet if it gets lost and ends up in a shelter. Place all of this in a waterproof zipper bag or container. If you have to take your pet to an emergency shelter, securely attach this information to your pet’s crate.
Make a list of names and phone numbers of pet-friendly hotels outside the impacted area. Be ready to call for reservations as soon as you know you must evacuate. Rooms fill up fast. A couple of website resources are petswelcome.com and bringfido.com. There are many more.
This list covers the basics. For more information about preparing your family, including your pets, for a hurricane, visit Ready.gov.
On Twitter, follow @redcrossdog for more safety tips and @disasteranimals for current information about emerging disaster events. We’re also on Facebook.
Want a step-by-step guide on making your own animal evacuation kit and plan? It's in there. Whether you have a cat or dog, a ferret or fish or bird, a snake or a frog, or horses and livestock, Guide to Pet Safety will help you prepare and keep them safe during an emergency.
In addition to disaster and emergency preparation, it also contains extensive first aid information, from making a first aid kit to transporting an injured animal, from recognizing distress in an animal to protecting them through all seasons and holidays. There's even an illustrated section on poisonous plants.
Aside from the information, there are other features I particularly like. One is the size - 8-1/2" x 11." The thinness that deceived me in the beginning makes this book easy to store in your evacuation kit or on a shelf as a ready reference. The other is the sideways "headers" on key sections that allow the reader to quickly find information by flipping the pages without opening the book completely. It would be nice if this book were spiral bound so it could lay flat when open, but that's a minor detail compared to the overall value of this great guide.
The author, Cameron R. White-Thumwood, spent years compiling the information and consulted many experts to ensure that the book contains solid and user-friendly information. It has been endorsed by veterinarians and emergency response officials. Guide to Pet Safety is available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle formats. You also can contact PetAlert.com for more information.
Full Disclosure: We were provided a copy of "Guide to Pet Safety" at no charge for the purpose of this review. No one from Humanity Road or Animals in Disaster has received or will receive any monetary compensation for writing this review, nor were the opinions expressed influenced by the author or anyone else involved with the book.
Here at Animals in Disaster we sift through dozens of media articles each day in order to bring you the latest information to help you and your pets before, during and after a disaster. With all the natural disasters that have occurred in recent months, there certainly has been plenty of news. But there is one type of disaster news that pops up in our searches every day, deeply affects people and their pets, their families, neighborhoods and communities, yet seldom commands national headlines.
Fires are the most common disaster in the United States. In 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 362,500 home structure fires. A home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds. The American Red Cross responded to a home fire about every eight minutes.
When it comes to pets affected by home fires, it seems that neither the NFPA nor anyone else keeps statistics. However, reliable industry websites generally agree that at least 40,000 pets die each year from smoke inhalation in home fires. Sometimes the owners are not present when the fire starts. Sometimes people must leave pets behind in their rush to save themselves and their children. Firefighters make a heroic effort to rescue pets whenever they can, but a) unless you have a sticker on your door or window, they may not know you have pets inside, and b) many fire departments do not have pet oxygen masks to help pets recover from smoke inhalation after they are rescued.
Most home fires are preventable. We hope you will take the easy steps to protect your family, including your pets, from a home fire. We don't want to lose any of you! Once your home and family are prepared, we also encourage you to join with others in your community to find ways to equip your local firefighters with pet oxygen masks. These could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
Below is a video of the Top Ten fire safety tips for homes and apartments. We also provide some links below the video for further information.
Free Pet Safety Pack, including an "Animals Inside" window decal from ASPCA
Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist from American Red Cross (a PDF you can print out)
Wag'N 02 Fur Life - The Pet Oxygen Mask Initiative on Facebook
Project Breathe - An initiative by Invisible Fence to provide pet oxygen masks to fire departments who apply.
Pet Fire Alert - A comprehensive fire alert system designed by a firefighter for homes with pets
- February is “Responsible Pet Owner Month”
- Toad Power
- Cute Animal Christmas Song
- October 22nd - National Pit Bull Awareness Day
- October 21st - Reptile Awareness Day
- A Disaster We Can Prevent
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- National Animal Safety and Protection Month
- Interview with The Other Side of a Prepper's Path
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