Washington, D.C. – Hurricanes rarely take us by surprise any more so it’s smart to have a plan ready to protect your family and your pets. After rescuing hundreds of animals following Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Ike, and countless other storms over the past 100 years American Humane Association’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services™ team has compiled key tips to help you keep yourself, your family – and your animals—safe.
Before the storm
- Tie down or anchor outside objects that might fly about and injure someone.
- Bring children and pets inside; bring outdoor animals inside with a carrier ready large enough to turn around and lie down comfortably.
- Review your evacuation plan and double-check emergency supplies, bowls, water, food.
- Have a carrier at the ready.
- If your family must evacuate, take your pets with you.
During the storm.....if you cannot evacuate
- Choose a safe room for riding out the storm—an interior room without windows – and take your entire family there, including your pets.
- Stay with pets. If crated, they depend on you for food and water.
- Keep your emergency kit in that room with you (food, water, litter, meds).
- Know your pet’s hiding places. That’s where they may run; keep them with you.
- Secure exits and cat doors so pets can’t escape into the storm.
- Do not tranquilize your pets. They’ll need their survival instincts should the storm require that.
After the storm
- Make sure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess damages before allowing children or animals out.
- Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier, and children close at hand. Displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris could harm them.
- Give pets time to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause a pet to become confused or lost.
- Keep kids and animals away from downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
- Keep an eye on children’s emotional reaction to the crisis. Talk to children – and just as important – listen to them. Reassure them frequently that you, local officials, and their communities are all working to keep them safe and return life back to normal. Watch for symptoms of stress, including clinginess, stomachaches, headaches, nightmares, trouble eating or sleeping, or changes in behavior. If you are concerned about the way your children are responding long after the crisis is over, consult your doctor, school counselor or local mental health professional.
- Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, too, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
About American Humane Association
Since 1877 American Humane Association has protected children, pets and farm animals from neglect, cruelty or abuse. Today we reach millions of people through groundbreaking scientific research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and networks. You can help us make a difference.Visit American Humane Organization at www.americanhumane.org/sos, click in "donate" or call 1-800-578-4142.