With the most recent natural disasters in both Haiti and Chile, as well as the frequent Homeland Security advisories, now is the perfect time to begin preparing yourself, your family and pets for an emergency.
Examining answers to some of the following questions pertaining to your pets and family is a helpful way to assess how prepared you are:
- do you have at least a 3 day reserve supply of food, water and medications?
- are you able to apply first aid?
- could you administer C.P.R.?
- would you be ready in the event of an evacuation ?
Strengthening these areas is key. There are also many reputable sources and references for managing an emergency, such as FEMA, which has provided a complete, comprehensive guide including videos for viewing at http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/. This publication by FEMA includes detailed instructions on disaster supplies, including first aid, as well as preparation tips for numerous types of disasters and emergencies. A full list of first aid items for your animals is additionally available through the Humane Society of America at http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html
In some cases, it may be possible that communication, travel and power are interrupted and it may not be possible to receive treatment from a physician or veterinarian. This type of situation could result in placing you in the position of needing to rely on personal knowledge of advanced life-saving procedures such as C.P.R. Fortunately, the American Red Cross, through You Tube, has released an excellent instruction video for human C.P.R. at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnxfV3iG9iQ and Chicago’s WGN 9 news station has provided a helpful video demonstration of animal C.P.R. which is available at http://www.wgntv.com/news/adoptapet/wgntv-cpr-demostration-july28,0,5136436.story
While it is hopeful that no one would ever have to experience an evacuation, it could happen to you with very little or no warning. Some helpful ideas for managing an evacuation:
- have compact luggage ready for easy transport such as backpacks containing supplies.
- use pet carriers or crates for your smaller animals.
- utilize folding, soft crates for your larger animals.
- ensure your pets have I.D. tags including your contact information.
- keep a battery powered radio for receiving instructions in the event of a power outage.
- designate a known destination in case of separation.
Don’t be caught off guard. Practice makes perfect and planning ahead is essential when preparing for an emergency. If you have any remarks or questions regarding this article, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org