Wash. - Here in Washington, we take our pets seriously. So it makes sense that local disaster preparedness efforts include our four-legged family members when planning for what to do to make it through a serious earthquake here in the Puget Sound region.
The cornerstones of disaster preparedness – make a plan, build a kit and help each other – are all about giving families the tools to survive, whether they have children, elderly relatives or even a family pet. JoAnn Jordan, public education coordinator at the Seattle Office of Emergency Management, provides these tips for pet preparedness.
Make a plan—for pets: Before the disaster, make arrangements with a neighbor or relative that lives nearby to care for your pet, in the event you are unable to return home immediately following a disaster. Identify hotels and motels nearby that allow pets, in case you need temporary shelter. Make sure that your pet has current ID information on their collar. It’s even better if your pet has an ID chip. If your pet does not have an ID chip, take a photo of you and your pet, so that, if the pet is lost, you will be able to prove that you are the owner.
Build a kit: The most important thing you can do is build your pet a disaster preparedness kit for seven to 10 days. That is the length of time that all of us, including our pets, need to be prepared to go without essential services based on the magnitude of earthquake that’s likely to occur here in the Pacific Northwest. Local pet supply store Mud Bay has created helpful displays and offers money-saving coupons to help you assemble pet care items for your kit. (Mud Bay is a campaign partner.)
Jordan recommends pet owners build a kit with enough of these items to last for seven to 10 days:
- Food and water for at least seven to 10 days (that’s one gallon per day for an animal the size of a large dog)
- Spare collar, current ID and leash: Even if your animal is accustomed to the outdoors, they need a leash after a disaster, when scents and neighborhood landmarks may be different
- Pet carrier: Be sure your name and current phone number are marked on the pet carrier, and tape to it a waterproof bag containing a copy of vaccination records and the name and phone number of your veterinarian/kennel
- Current photo of you and your pet in case you get separated
- Pet chip ID number
- Nearby kennels and animal shelters’ name and phone number
- Medications and stress/anxiety reducers
- First aid kit
- Bags for waste clean-up
- Plastic litter box and clumping cat litter (if needed)
Help each other: If you’re away from home when catastrophe strikes, call a neighbor to ask them to check on your pet to make sure they’re safe and secured inside. Neighbors, if pet owners can’t return to their homes, offer to help check on the pet regularly.
“It’s really important to plan for those seven to 10 days before essential services are restored,” said Jordan. “So many of us have cats and dogs that are absolutely part of our families, and we can plan ahead to protect them. ”
About “What to do to Make it Through”
Local agencies across Puget Sound are teaming up to educate and encourage citizens to prepare for catastrophic events with a regional campaign called “What to do to Make it Through.” The program is made possible by a grant from the Puget Sound Offices of Emergency Management, with the support of partners including Mud Bay, KOMO-TV, KOMO News Radio and Star 101.5. The program serves to educate the public that catastrophes can happen at any time and encourage residents to prepare for the right duration—at least 7 to 10 days. To learn the three most important things you can do to survive a catastrophe and start planning, visit: www.makeitthrough.org.