As hurricane Barry is heading towards the Louisiana Coast and it’s a good time for the team at our Leesville Animal Hospital North Raleigh veterinary hospital to share some emergency evacuation tips.
North Raleigh Veterinary Hospital Shares Emergency Evacuation Tips
We are fortunate here in Raleigh in that we don’t experience quite as many natural disasters as other areas of the country. Once in a while, we do have a major event here in the Triangle, though, and when that happens it’s important that you know what to do and how to properly prepare and provide for your pets.
Recent Progress in Emergency Preparedness for Pet Parents
It used to be that emergency evacuations made no accommodations for pets. This left pet parents in a very difficult position when disaster struck suddenly – they were to evacuate without their pets or disobey authorities and put their lives at risk by staying where they are with their pets or by attempting to evacuate on their own. After the event of Hurricane Katrina, however, officials recognized a need for legal reform.
In 2006, the federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 5196a-d (2006)) was passed. This law gives the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the authority to develop new emergency evacuation plans that take the needs of service dog owners and pet owners into consideration and to ensure that state and local plans do the same in the event of an emergency or major disaster.
With the passing of the PETS Act, 30 U.S. states have now also implemented pet-centric emergency evacuation and planning laws. The majority of these laws include provisions for the care of companion animals, the implementation of state animal response teams, the sheltering of animals, and the identification of recovered animals.
In the state of North Carolina the state law provides the following:
Animal protection planning will enhance care and recovery for animals and
people during emergencies. In keeping in compliance with the PETS Act, these
plans will include measures to identify housing and shelter, communicating
information to the public, proper animal care, reunification, fostering, adoption,
and release (in the case of wildlife).
Public information will be issued through various forms of media. This
information will include locations where farm animals and pets may be accepted
during emergency or disaster conditions.
The state will also:
- Support sheltering and feeding of animals including assisting with
volunteer and donations management at the State level.
- Support opening of additional shelters as required.
- Make media appeals based on actual needs for donations, search for
owners, and other needs as required.
- Support efforts to identify owners of lost, strayed, and homeless animals
and return them to their rightful owners.
- Support efforts to foster or adopt animals without owners or whose
owners can no longer care for them.
- Support euthanasia operations when animals, such as companion pets,
cannot be adopted or owner cannot be found.
The provision of emergency facilities and care by the government and state organizations, however, does not mean that pet owners are “off the hook”. The state still holds pet parents responsible for the proper care of their pets during an emergency, this includes the preparation of an emergency preparedness plan, following evacuation plans as directed to ensure the safety of pets, and following instructions given by authorities while in an evacuation shelter.
Make Your Own Emergency Preparations
So, what do you need to do to make your own emergency preparations that take your pets into account?
- Find out which emergency evacuation shelters allow pets so that you know where to go in the event of an emergency.
- Create an emergency kit with everything you may need in the event of an evacuation, this kit should include:
- Veterinary contact information and contact information for local emergency veterinary facilities
- Enough canned/dry food for 3 to 7 days
- Enough water to last for 3 to 7 days
- Food and water dishes
- A muzzle, collar, harness, and leash
- Your pet’s identification documentation, including a photo and immunization records
- An up to date ID tag that includes any medical conditions or needs
- A pet first aid kit
- A two-week supply of medications that your pet requires
- Pet bedding, a crate, and toys – emergency shelters require that you have a crate for your pets
- Disposable litter trays and litter
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Know your local evacuation route and evacuate AS SOON as the state suggests that evacuation may be necessary.
- Know which hotels are pet-friendly if you do plan to evacuate
- Talk with family and friends out of town to see if they will allow you and your pets to stay with them if you evacuate, this will allow you to save money that you may need to rebuild after a disaster strikes.
If You Are Stuck at Home
If you receive advanced warning of an approaching disaster, ALWAYS evacuate with your pets, it’s just the safest thing to do.
If you are stuck at home during the time of a disaster, however, make sure that you remain in a safe space – a basement or a central room of the home with no windows. If you have time, board up your windows and fill your bathtub and sinks with water. Bring your emergency supplies to the safe room. DO NOT leave the safe area of your home until the disaster has passed.
After the Disaster
After the disaster, there are some other things to take into consideration:
- Survey the area around your home before stepping outside or letting your pet out to use the bathroom, there may be sharp and dangerous debris.
- Do not allow your pets to drink any flood waters.
- If there is standing water and you cannot see the ground or if there are any potential hazards outdoors, keep your pets indoors. If you must evacuate because of pending danger (a falling power line or tree), carry pets or find a way to transport them without having them walk through flood waters.
- Do NOT leave your pets alone
- Do NOT let your pets run loose
- Get to a safe and uncontaminated space as soon as possible
- Check in with your pet’s vet (or another vet if you have had to evacuate for an extended period of time) to ensure that your pet is well following the disaster.
Have Questions For Our North Raleigh Veterinary Hospital Team?
If you have questions for our team of veterinary professionals about emergency preparedness or if you need a copy of your pet’s vet records for your emergency preparedness kit, call our Raleigh veterinary hospital today at (919)870-7000