September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. Living in north central Texas, we have our fair share of natural disasters…drought, tornadoes, wildfires and even occasional flooding. No matter what the emergency, we need to have some type of plan so that we are safe.
When you are thinking about your emergency plan, don’t forget about your pets. For most families, pets are important members of the household. In case of emergency, you need to have some type of plan in place for them as well as your human family.
Here are some suggestions for www.ready.gov that you may find helpful:
*If you have to leave your house, do not leave your pets behind. Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and, if by some chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.
*Public shelters may not allow pets. Find out in advance where shelters are that accept pets or identify family members living outside your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pet in an emergency. Also identify which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to will allow pets well in advance of needing them.
*Take pet food, bottled water, medications, vet records, cat litter and pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a “pet survival kit” which easily could be taken if disaster hits.
*Make sure your pet’s identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag might be his ticket home.
*Make sure that you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
*Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can’t escape.
No one likes to think about emergencies, much less prepare for them. After all, you spend a lot of time and other resources preparing for an emergency and then nothing happens. But aren’t you glad! But taking a few minutes to prepare is a small price to pay for the safety of your pet and your peace of mind. Take care of it today. You’ll be glad you did.
Carrie T. Brazeal is the County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972.424.1460, Ext. 4233.