View Full Version : Disasters, Evacuations and Animals

07-25-06, 11:22 am
Disasters, Evacuations and Animals

As we have learned in recent years disasters strike and many people find themselves unprepared for it. Not only for themselves but especially for their animals.

In the case of a disaster, be it natural or manmade, be prepared to be on your own, with no outside help for a minimum of 72 hours. In the case of animals you must be prepared to be on your own for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Often cats and dogs can survive solely on canned or dry goods for a lengthy period of time. The same applies to most omnivores such as rats, mice, hamsters and gerbils. Therefore this article will not focus on them but on the more exotic species of pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas and other herbivores. However, do not forget to have supplies for all your animals on hand.

While laws have been recently passed to help insure the evacuation of humans with their pets the planning is in the very early stage and is unreliable. You must be solely responsible for your animalsí well being, feeding and care.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army, Military and other organizations will be mobilized soon after the disaster but their sole focus will be on humans. They will not deliver food or supplies for your pets. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat, or Army Rations) contain no fresh foods suitable for herbivores and you cannot rely on having drinkable water coming from your taps (or well) nor on getting enough water from said agencies to support both yourself, your family and your pets. They will also not be prepared to help evacuate your animals. That responsibility falls on your shoulders alone. You cannot count on the ASPCA or other animal organizations getting to you in time.

This article is broken up into 2 sections. If you Stay and If you Evacuate. You need to be familiar and prepared for both scenarios as you may be forced to evacuate after the disaster. You will find lists of items you should have for your animals along with helpful hints and suggestions to help you and your pets make it through the crisis.

Take the time right away to start getting prepared. Disasters like tornados and earthquakes happen with little or no notice. Being prepared now will save you stress and grief later.

If You Stay

Water - You will need enough bottled water to last your pets for 2 weeks. If we assume that a Guinea Pig can drink up to 8 ounces of water a day. You will need at least one gallon per Guinea Pig (or other small pet) for 2 weeks. If you have leaky water bottles or animals that like to play with their water bottles it is better to double or triple this amount
Food - You will need enough of your petís base diet to last for a minimum of 2 weeks. Figure out how much you feed each animal per day and multiply that by 14. You should then have an idea of how much food in weight you should have. Store it in air tight containers.
Hay - Make sure you have a large hay supply on hand for hay eating pets. Do all you can to keep it dry even if you have to store it for a short time in garbage bags.
Fresh Vegetables/Roughage - If your power goes out for a long period of time most of the fresh foods you buy will spoil due to lack of refrigeration. Stock up anyway to be on the safe side but if your fresh foods do spoil make certain you know in advance what plants are safe to eat that grow in your yard or neighbors yards. Do not count on being able to travel outside your immediate area to find fresh vegetation as a curfew may be in effect or conditions may be too dangerous to travel.
Vitamin C supplements - In the event that fresh foods cannot be found have an ample supply of Vitamin C supplements on hand either in tablet or liquid form. If nothing else your Guinea Pigs will get by on supplements alone until you can get them fresh foods.
First Aid Supplies and Book - Buy or put together a first aid kit for your pets. Be certain to also get a good animal first aid book to go along with it and READ the book before you need to use it. In the case of an emergency it is best to already have a general knowledge of what needs to be done.
Animal Medications - If your pet/s take any medications be certain to have an ample supply.
Hard Sided Pet Carriers (pref airline quality)- If bad weather like a tornado or hurricane hit it is best to temporarily house your pets inside small hard sided carriers. This will keep them safer from flying debris and structure collapse and it is easier to grab a carrier then catch a pet inside a large cage if you need to move quickly. They will also come in handy if you need to evacuate after the disaster and will be required if you get flown out of the affected area.Helpful hints

Fill all tubs and clean buckets, bowls and pots with tap water if you know a possible disaster (like a hurricane) is coming. You can use the water for washing up, cooling off and, if you need it, to drink.
Potable water tablets are good to have in the event you run out of water or your water supply gets destroyed.
Buy some porous tiles. If the power goes out and itís summer you can soak the tiles in water and lie them in the cages for the animals to stay cool on.
Buy some chemical "instant ice" packs. In extreme summer heat they can be activated, wrapped in a towel to keep teeth and claws away from them and placed in the cage or against an overheated animal.
Buy some "hot hands" chemical hand warmer packets. If the power goes out in the winter you can activate these packets, wrap them securely in towels and place them in the cages for the animals to stay warm.
Inflatable Boats/Air Mattresses - In the case of flooding an air mattress can be used to float the carriers on as it may be necessary to wade through water to get to safety. Be certain that the cages and carriers have no sharp edged that could puncture the air mattress and keep animal claws away from it.
A fully charged cell phone and a crank charger for it. Many of the emergency crank radios available will also charge cell phones. Figure out how to use it in advance. Keep handy a list of emergency phone numbers including the National numbers for the ASPCA, Humane Society and EARS.Stay safe!

Gas or charcoal grills can be useful to cook on when the power's out. But do NOT take them inside for cooking or heating! They're made to work outside, and the reduced ventilation inside can cause a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.If You Evacuate

Non-leaking Water Bottles - the jostling and bumping in a vehicle can quickly empty a water bottle attached to a cage. Purchase enough small lever type or spring loaded bottles to have at least one per cage. If your animals will not drink from this type of bottle then insure they have water soaked veggies or other moist food for the trip.
Food Dishes - get ones that can connect to the side of the cage or carrier. A free standing food dish can get tipped over or thrown about the cage if there is a large bump. Bird seed dishes are cheap and work well for this.
First Aid Kit
Pet Medications and immunization records (if any)
Food to last at least 4 days
Water to last at least 4 days
Vitamin C Suppliments
Fully charged cell phone and charger.
Storage Cubes and Shower Curtains - Bring enough cubes to build temporary cages once you get to your destination. Binder clips are a great way to clip together a cage when you are trying to build a cage that will fit in an awkward or small area (like in a hotel room). Use the shower curtain for the liner.
Permanent Marker - In the event of a crowded shelter or other situation where you are afraid you could get separated from your pet you may be able to write a contact phone number directly onto your petís skin. Make certain that their cages and carriers are also marked with your name and a contact number. Choose a permanent marker that is listed as nontoxic (Sharpie is a good choice).Helpful Hints

Know where you are going! Having a destination (and a map) can make all the difference in the world.
If you are using the public evacuation system and your state has pet evacuation protocol know it in advance. Animals will most likely not be allowed to board buses at all pick-up locations. They will most likely have only certain locations that will allow animals. Also know where the animal friendly shelters are in advance. Most shelters will not allow animals to enter.
If you are heading to a hotel make certain it allows animals. If it has an in room fridge all the better so you can keep veggies fresh in it.
Do a dry run evacuation. Make certain you can fit all the animal carriers and cages inside your vehicle and memorize how to best get them in.
Once you reach your destination make certain that you immediately go out and purchase more pet supplies. In the event of a hurricane they can sweep inland and knock out power for hundreds of miles. Be prepared to support your animals and yourself for a week in the location you reached.
Donít worry about bringing bedding for you animals. Most likely you will be able to pick it up once you reach your destination but in a pinch you should at least be able to find newspaper to use.

07-25-06, 11:25 am
Links for Pet Disaster Preparedness
ASPCA: Disaster Preparedness (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aspca.org%2Fsite%2FPage Server%3Fpagename%3Ddisaster)
Ready.gov: Pet Items (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ready.gov%2Famerica%2Fg etakit%2Fpets.html)
Disaster Preparedness Resources (http://www.hsus.org/hsus_field/hsus_disaster_center/resources/)
Resources for Planning How to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bt.cdc.gov%2Fdisasters% 2Fpetprotect.asp)
American Red Cross (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.redcross.org%2Fservices %2Fdisaster%2F0%2C1082%2C0_604_%2C00.html)
United Animal Nations (http://www.uan.org/index.cfm?navid=36)
FEMA: Information for Pet Owners (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fema.gov%2Fplan%2Fprepa re%2Fanimals.shtm%231)
Weather The Storm (http://www.weatherthestorm.com/preparing_yourpets.html)

If you need assistance in evacuating your pets
United Animal Nations (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uan.org%2Fears%2Findex. html)

National Pet Evacuation bill (pending, your action needed)
Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) (https://secure2.convio.net/aspca/site/Advocacy?&id=1974&JServSessionIdr004=zkbpp82gv2.app17a) ASPCA
Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hsus.org%2Flegislation_ laws%2Ffederal_legislation%2Fcompanion_animals%2F2 005_PETS_evacuation.html) HSUS

Louisiana pet evacuation Bill (passed)
Louisiana PETS Act (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.la-spca.org%2Farchive%2FSB%2520607%2520pet%2520evac%2 520%283).pdf)

La money to aid pet evac lacking - NOLA.com: Everything New Orleans (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nola.com%2Fnews%2Ft-p%2Fcapital%2Findex.ssf%3F%2Fbase%2Fnews-4%2F115320557761930.xml%26coll%3D1)

Links for Human Preparedness
FEMA: Are You Ready? (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fema.gov%2Fareyouready% 2Findex.shtm)
American Red Cross (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.redcross.org%2Fservices %2Fprepare%2F0%2C1082%2C0_239_%2C00.html)
Ready.gov - Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ready.gov%2Famerica%2Fi ndex.html)
Prepare.org | Preparedness Information on the Web (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prepare.org%2F)
Weather The Storm (http://www.weatherthestorm.com/)