Certified Animal Disaster First Responder explains
What you should do to plan and prepare in case of disaster
for you, your family and pets
Author, Dorinne Whynott, Owner of Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
Every year disaster hits in the US. It could be a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, fire. However, it could also be a water main break, fuel tank truck accident, a deranged person on the loose!!
Disaster Planning for you and your pets NOW is essential to ensure less stress all around.
As the owner of one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire and the owner of quite a few pets of my own, I was concerned after 9/11, what I should be doing to keep my family safe. I researched and found classes to become certified through a few organizations and compiled quite a lot of great information.
Here are 6 ideas to do now and have ready if you ever get that knock on the door that says you need to leave NOW
- Never leave your pets.
You don’t know how bad the situation is or isn’t. You don’t know if or when you may return, it could be minutes, hours, days, weeks or never, depending on the situation. Also, the situation may look not that bad now, but it could always get worse. Be on the safe side and take them with you.
- Have a “go” bag for you and your pets. Have one per person and per pet ( multiple pets can be combined).
For people, It should have a few days clothes, all weather gear, extra shoes, extra self care products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, other personal care items), medications.
For pets, extra collars, leashes, a crate for each pet ( in case cats need to be crated for long times, it needs to be big enough for a bed, Litterboxes, food/ water), any special food, medications.
Have an area in your closet or pantry that you always stock and rotate to “go” food, such as bottled water (rule is 1 gallon per person per day, approx. 1 gallon per 2-4 dogs/6-9 cats per day, depending on sizes and medical), protein bars, canned food, portable plates, utensils, etc.
- Have a list of places you could go with your pets.
Find multiple places that allow pets located out of your neighborhood, out of your town, maybe an hour away and maybe out of your state. In a rush of a disaster or emergency, the leg work you do here will be priceless. Why do you need so many? It depends on the emergency/ disaster. If it is something contained in your neighborhood, you really don’t need to travel so far but if it is a state emergency, you maybe forced to go farther. Having multiple listings will help you call and make reservations quickly before places book up. Everyone else will be in your same situation, so the faster you are in calling, the faster you will be in a place all settled. Places to consider could be family, friends, pet friendly hotels/ motels, bed and breakfasts, etc.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows the plan
Everyone should know what to do, where to go and who to check in with so everyone knows each other is safe. In case cell phones are down as in the Boston bombings, have a few designated people out of state that all family members know to call. If for whatever reason, your family is split up because it happens while you are at work, school, shopping etc. , every one in your family needs to know the plan.
- What about when I’m away and you are pet sitting for us?
We always ask for two emergency people, preferably one is within walking distance. This person should have a key to your home and is willing in this type of situation to help your pets. This should be prearranged. This is only for a disaster emergency situation. Whether roads are impassable or evacuation. Can’t I depend on my pet sitter? No, if roads are impassable, then we can’t get there. Also, we literally have hundreds of pets in our care daily. We can not transport or house that many. Our disaster plan is to do what we can by keeping them in their own homes, we will make sure all pets have extra food and water, put pets in a designated place in a home if owners choose.
If we are able to stay with pets in the home, especially with any medical issues we will, but its not always possible.
If we can take pets with us we will, but again, it’s not always possible.
You need to have a plan B. A trusted neighbor who only has to help their family and your pets in this emergency is more likely then us helping over 100 pets scattered all over.
- Plan, plan, plan.
We all tend to think it happens some where else to some one else. We all get busy and forget. When I was being certified for Animal Disaster Response, I researched as much as I could from many resources. I compiled this information into my “Disaster Planning for You and Your Pets”. There is a lot of information, ideas and suggestions. If you could break it down and do just a few things every week, you will eventually be prepared. If you never need to use your plan, great but if you are ever in this situation, with your mind in panic mode, you will have a step by step guide to follow. When you and your family, (human and pets) are all safe, you will be glad you prepared.
Do you want more ideas? I have researched and compiled all the information on disaster planning from many organizations such as Red Cross, Humane Society of the US, American Humane Association, FEMA and more!
Here’s my link: Disaster Planning for Your and Your Pets
About the Owner/Author
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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