You all have heard the saying about New England weather, "Wait a minute and the weather with change." As New Englanders, we have to be prepared for all kinds of weather, including hurricanes and flooding, like what Texas is currently experiencing. Not only should we all have an emergency plan in place for ourselves, but as responsible animal owners, our emergency plan should include our pets, of all shapes and sizes!
Here are some helpful tips about preparing your pets for emergencies and disasters:
1-Prepare a disaster kit and keep it in an area where it can be easily retrieved.
2-Your kit should include such things as food, water, bowls, extra collar/leash, extra set of I.D tags, copies of medical/vaccination records and medication.
3-Be sure to rotate/replace food upon expiration.
4-Keep a recent photo of your pet with you.
5-Have a transportation carrier available
Always have an emergency evacuation plan in place including being aware of particular hazards in your area and knowing the location of the emergency animal facilities in Rhode Island. There are currently four facilities in Rhode Island that are approved as emergency facilities, but only become active when a state of emergency is declared or imminent. They are as follows:
1-Pawtucket Animal Shelter.
2-South Kingstown Animal Shelter.
3-Westerly Animal Shelter.
4-The Potter League for Animals located in Middletown.
With all of this being said, we cannot forget about our farmers and livestock. While the basic principles are the same, they pose a completely different logistical scenario. It would certainly be difficult for a dairy farm with hundreds of cattle to remove them from their location. The best advice I can give is as follows:
1- Ensure all outbuilding are safe and up to current building code standards.
2- Cover all glass with some form of material that will prevent shattering.
3- Secure and/or remove debris that may dislodge and cause injury.
4- Review your flood plain risks and make every effort to prepare and area of high ground away from the food zone, including designing an access route.
5- Never tie-out or secure your animals in a manner that will not allow them freedom to escape disaster.
It’s always recommended that you take your pets with you and I know that goes without saying. But as a last piece of advice, in the event you have to leave them behind, ensure they have an ample supply of food and water and post a sign or labels where they can clearly be seen by emergency personnel, identifying all animals on the premise.