Tips to Keep You, Your Family and Your Pets Safe Before, During, and After a Storm
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4 – With Tropical Storm Karen threatening the Southeastern United States, and a possible severe weather outbreak in the central states predicted for today, the experts at American Humane Association and their Red Star™ emergency rescue program, are issuing key tips to help you keep yourself, your family and your animals safe – before, during and after a storm.
Before the storm
NEVER leave animals behind. Review your evacuation plans and know a safe place where your pets can go if you need to evacuate. Evacuation destinations may include a friend or family member’s home, going to a pet-friendly hotel, or temporarily housing your pet(s) at a boarding facility. Plan multiple routes to your safe destination.
Microchip your pets and properly affix a tag on your pet’s collar with your name, address and cellphone number so they may be returned quickly in case you are separated from your pets.
Update your microchip registrations and pet license information to ensure its current and consider including the name and contact information of an out-of-area contact just in case you are unreachable in a disaster zone.
Tie down or anchor outside objects that might fly about and injure someone.
Double-check your disaster preparedness kit for your pets (i.e. First Aid kit, leashes, and pets’ carrying cases, bowls, sanitation materials, chew toy, minimum 3 days, ideally 7-10 days of food, meds, water).
Evacuate your family and pets as early as you can and remember to take your family and your pet’s disaster preparedness kit if you do leave.
Bring children and pets inside; bring outdoor animals inside with a carrier ready large enough to turn around and lie down comfortably.
Have a carrier and leashes at the ready.
If your family must evacuate, ALWAYS 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 hazards such as 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.
“Hurricanes and tornadoes are among the deadliest of weather phenomena,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “Fortunately, our Red Star program has worked in disaster relief for nearly 100 years and has amassed a lot of practical knowledge on how families can prepare and, if there is no way to avoid the storms, weather them as well as possible and keep loved ones safe afterwards.”
“Our team is watching both Tropical Storm Karen and the possible severe weather situation in the central states closely. Those who are in the path of these storms should prepare by taking necessary precautions now,” says Justin Scally, American Humane Association national director of emergency services. “The smartest thing you can do to prepare is to have a plan ready to protect your family and your pets. Thinking ahead is the best way of keeping everyone you love safe.”
About American Humane Association and their Red Star™ emergency services program
American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877 American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, disasters, abuse and neglect. Today they’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society.
Their legendary Red Star emergency services program has been involved in nearly every major relief effort over the past 100 years, including World War I when they rescued wounded horses on the battlefields of Europe, the Great Ohio Flood of 1937, Pearl Harbor, Hurricane Katrina, the eruption at Mount Saint Helens, the terror attacks on 9/11, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Superstorm Sandy, and the killer tornadoes in Joplin and Oklahoma. The Red Star program has rescued more than 70,000 animals in just the past five years alone.
For more information and tips, or to support Red Star’s efforts, go to "http://www.americanhumane.org" www.americanhumane.org or call 1-866-242-1877.