When it’s clear that your area is in the path of an oncoming storm, you need to quickly decide if you are going to leave your home and relocate to a safer area, or stay and ride out the storm.
Sometimes, you won’t have a choice. Public safety officials are not averse to issuing blanket evacuation orders that could affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people. In these situations, safety for residents is a prime concern. Whether you choose to evacuate on your own volition or are forced to, one thing to consider is what you should do with your pets?
For seniors and those with special needs, dealing with floods and related emergencies – like heat and loss of electricity – can present tremendous hardships. Coping with the added stress of pet or service animal safety could be too much.
When it comes to your safety, advance planning is key. For example, is your estate planning current and does it include consideration for planning for your pet or service animal? Being prepared is key and planning ahead is one of the best ways to ensure your and your pets safety when dealing with the mega-storms.
It may surprise you to learn how much we are asked for advice on this topic. Let us share you a few of the recommendations we share with our family, friends, clients, and local community professionals.
1. If you are told to evacuate, take your pet or service animal with you. It’s not safe to leave them behind. They can be injured, lost or even killed when left to fend for themselves.
2. Never allow your pet to be tied to a tree during a storm. It could be a death sentence.
3. Contact hotels and motels in your area to see if they accept pets. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places handy in your emergency “go” kit. Do not forget to include yourself if you need assistance and ask if they are equipped to support someone with special needs.
4. Ask friends and relatives if they would be willing to provide shelter your animal(s).
5. Find boarding facilities. Some veterinarians offices, for example, will board animals during hurricanes. Call around and add them to your “pet friendly” list.
6. Reach out to your local emergency management office and ask which public shelters provide pet services, in addition to the shelters offered for evacuated people. Again, ask about yourself if you need assistance. Specific shelters are equipped to support individuals with special needs.
7. In the event of emergency when you do not know what shelter to go to or the one you intended to evacuate to is full know that if you are a senior citizen with special needs – such as blindness, hearing impairment or a physical disability – and you have a certified service dog, public evacuation shelters will usually allow them to stay with you.
8. Evacuation kits aren’t just for seniors who may need to flee their homes or living facilities at a moment’s notice. Making a pet emergency kit is also a great way to plan ahead. Some key items include, extra food placed in sturdy containers, cleaning supplies, vaccine records, ID tags, proof of ownership and two leashes.
We know this may seem like an insurmountable preparation list to complete. Not only do you need to ensure your pet is safe but you as well. Start by taking it one step at a time until it is complete. Remember, we are here to help you. Do not wait to contact us to ask us your questions on planning for yourself and for your pet.