Preparing your Pets for Emergencies
If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.
If you must evacuate, take your pets with you if possible. However, if you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets.
Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Prepare Your Home for an Emergency
Planning for any emergency requires considering all likely scenarios that could result when things that you rely on daily- such as electricity, water, heat, air conditioning, telephone services and transportation- are disrupted or lost for a considerable amount of time. Consequently, you should plan on having food, water, and other essential goods to get you through the emergency. Most emergency management planner suggests having enough supplies to last you and your family for three to five days for weather -related events. However, many things may affect you decision, including storage space, special needs, number of people I the household and available resources.
The basic items that should be stored in your home include water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools, emergency supplies, and specialty items. Keep the items that you would most likely need at home in one easy-to-carry container such as a plastic storage bin, backpack, or duffel bag. Store it in a convenient place and put a smaller version in your car. Remember to change the stored water and rotate the food supplies every six months (place dates on the containers). Check the supplies and re-evaluate your needs every year. Consult your physician or pharmacist about storing medications, and maintain a current list of your family’s prescription needs.
Tornado Safety - what YOU Can Do!
Before the Storm:
- Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school, and when outdoors.
- Have frequent drills
- Know the county in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movements from weather bulletins.
- Have a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and batter back-up to receive warnings.
- Listen to radio and television for information
- If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.
If a Tornado Warning is issued or if threatening weather approaches
- In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
- If an underground shelter is not available, more to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
- Stay away from windows
- Do not try to out run a tornado in your car: get out of your car immediately and seek nearby safe shelter in a sturdy building.
- Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
- If in open country and no shelter is available, lie flat and face down on low ground protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away as possible from trees and cars, as they can be blown onto you.
FLOOD TIPS AND ACTION STEPS
AFTER A FLOOD
SAFETY FIRST (For businesses and home owners)
- Account that all employees or family members are safe by establishing evacuation plans in advance, identifying areas outside the building that are designated meeting places. Assign select individuals to keep a list of their assigned team’s names and contact numbers in order to account for their whereabouts.
- If water enters the building and evacuation becomes impossible, move to an upper floor, and wait for rescuers.
- While evacuating, avoid attempting to drive through floods or rising water, nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- Use no open flames (there may be gas escaping from ruptured mains).
- Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged. If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Listen for news reports to learn if the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Return only when authorities indicate it is safe.
SECURE THE PROPERTY
- Contact local emergency officials.
- Secure main entrances to building.
- Alert Security company and Alarm company of the situation.
STABILIZE THE PROPERTY
- Open basement or low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building’s foundation and walls.
- Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local emergency officials deem the structure safe to enter.
- Notify your insurance agent or Risk Manager to determine insurance policy guidelines and steps to take.