Emergency Preparedness Week
Is your family prepared for a major emergency, evacuation or natural disaster? How about your pets? Making arrangements before the chaos of an emergency can increase your pet’s chances of survival and greatly reduce the fear and anxiety your pet will experience.
May 5th to May 11th, 2013 is Emergency Preparedness Week!
In Ontario, we are each responsible for our own safety and survival during the first 72 hours of an emergency. Responsibility for the safety and survival of pets ultimately rests with pet owners throughout the entire duration of an emergency. Police officers, fire fighters and paramedics are generally not trained to assist pets in an emergency. This is not to say that they will not help animals in distress, however they may simply not have the time or resources to assist pets due to other priorities.
Here are some practical tips about how to best prepare for the safety of your pets during emergency situations.
Develop a family emergency response plan: This includes setting a primary and alternate meeting point away from the home in case of evacuation, listing emergency telephone numbers where all family members can easily find them (including the name and number of your pet’s veterinarian) and putting together a family emergency survival kit.
Test the plan regularly (two-three times per year ideally) with all family members – including pets: Prepare your cat or dog for a potential evacuation by putting him in a carrying cage in a quick and calm manner. Simulate a real emergency environment and conduct your drill at night to allow pets to become accustomed to the chaos, uncertainty and disruption that will accompany an emergency situation.
Create a pet emergency survival kit: Keep your pet’s kit with your family’s emergency survival kit for quick and easy access (preferably on the top shelf of a closet near your front door, away from the reach of small children). Visit our Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet for items to include.
These are just a few things to consider when preparing for an emergency. The Ontario SPCA website has additional information to consider in relation to your pets, or you can visit the Government of Canada’s “Get Prepared” site to learn more tips for the whole family.
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