Step Two – Situational Preparedness (Advanced Planning)
So hopefully you have your pictures in your phone and your zip-lock bag with some stuff in it. Do not let the kittens play with this bag or they will surely riddle it with little pin holes rendering it something short of waterproof. Find a safe place to cash the emergency supplies. We pets will feel far more secure if our humans are not running around like the proverbial headless chickens – nasty thought. If all the stuff is in one place then you can spend more time seeing to our comfort and perhaps not have to retrieve us from some really difficult hiding place like the middle of under a king-size bed or the interior of a couch. Not speaking from experience here, but just conveying some of the tales I have heard here at the shelter.
So let’s think about situational preparedness. Don’t wait until the emergency is on the radio and TV, plan now. This is gathering all the information you can about where you live, potential hazards and actions you might take to deal with them significantly in advance of the actual emergency. (Situational awareness is gathering information on current weather and other factors that will influence you actions during or immediately prior to a potential emergency. I will talk about this later, in upcoming blogs.)
You can check here to see El Dorado County’s Emergency Plan. You might also want to check and see if your workplace has an emergency plan. Next use these resources and the internet to determine what types of emergencies are common where you live. I am pretty sure from my late night internet searching that I will never be threatened by a Tsunami or Hurricane. A tornado is not likely but remotely possible. However having experienced them before I know a power outage is quite probable at some point. A building or wildland fire are also possible. As are the threats of localized flooding or a Hazardous materials spill.
The other thing to think about is how long each one of these is going to disrupt normal activities such as naps and chow time. Will you have to leave home or can you shelter in place? (If you plan to shelter in place what preparations need to be made?) Are you going to be away from home for 12 to 24 hours, or might you be displaced for a week or more. It is best to have a 7 day supply of food, water and necessities for the pets and the people too if you are sheltering in place and unable to get to the store or if the disaster affects a whole region. Although it is hard to think about sometimes there is no home to return to after and emergency. My photo albums and photo dvds are on my emergency checklist.
And if you are not sheltering in place how are you going to exit your neighbor hood for each of these types of events. It is best if every neighborhood has at least two ways to exit the area. If you live on a dead end street, is it really a dead end? Can you create another route with some planning and effort? If not, and you cannot shelter in place, you need to evacuate sooner or risk being trapped.
You can benefit from my late night internet work by checking out these useful links:
http://hazardmitigation.calema.ca.gov/ This website helps you determine your risks and has some good links
http://hazardmitigation.calema.ca.gov/docs/areyouready_full.pdf This is a 204 page FEMA document that details the step by step process to prepare for any disaster.
And don’t forget to check the PAWED website for some great handouts emergency preparedness for specific types of pets. Clickable links below.
Summary Step Two – Hazard Identification – Advance Hazard Mitigation – Escape Routes – Sheltering in Place
Step One – Identification & Immunizations
Get a current picture of you and each of your caretakers in the picture with you. Selfie’s are fine as long as your caretakers are in the picture with you and it is of pretty good quality. – I am still perfecting my “Selfie” technique. – In addition to the photo ID, a microchip, or if your ‘that type’, a tattoo, is an excellent idea. Put a copy of the chip number in each of your caretaker’s smart phones and a hard copy on a card for a wallet or purse. If you are a purebred or hoity- type pet then make sure they get a picture or hard copy of your pedigree and registration or bill of sale. Make a special album or albums on your smart-phone to save all the images in. For the hard copies put them in a water proof bag. No need to get fancy, save your money to buy me some cat treats or a cat hammock, just use a quart or gallon zip-lock bag.
For most lists this identification stuff is step two but you are going to need the ID and records for so many things, not just emergencies so ‘I’ suggest that you do these first.
And let’s talk about this microchip thing. Collars are not so bad for dogs, but even they slip them or loose them. Even we indoor only kitties can get injured, disoriented and lost or go for unplanned rides in vehicles while investigating them. We do not ‘do collars’, except breakaway ones. Microchips are really a cheap insurance policy with a really good success rate for pet recovery. Plus, I don’t need your pets at my shelter disturbing my naps for any longer than absolutely necessary and a chip is the quickest way to reunite you with them.
It is time to get off my soap box and back to the topic. Don’t forget to keep immunizations up to date. Caretakers check with the vet. Caretakers, while you are doing this you can get an updated copy of your pet’s medical record. Do the same for yourself. You are not gonna be much help to your pet if you are sick or quarantined.
OK so lets get too this stuff. Please write me if you have any clever or useful tips to add. At the end I will put all of this information into a single PDF.
Summary of the first step – ID Pictures and Proof of ownership – Microchips – Immunization Update – Medical Records
Next week (March 10th ) more stuff on the New West Slope Animal Shelter
In Two Weeks (March 17th) I will post Step two of Emergency Preparedness for you and your pets.
I’m exhausted! I didn’t get all my naps today…Saturdays can often be really busy days. ~ We had 4 stray cats come in today. I can’t believe it. More cats!? Three stray dogs were fortunately reunited with their families and that includes that big yellow lab with the heartworms I told you about yesterday. Hopefully the owners get him treated and healthy again. Five more dogs were adopted, woo-hoo! Oh, and “Snowflake” the 8 foot python FINALLY went home along her friend “Slither” the gopher snake. They were a little worried for awhile because they knew they had an owner, but didn’t understand why they were left here. I had to help explain to them (from a distance of course) that their owner was waiting for her home to get setup properly. You should have heard the animal cheers from all the cats and rabbits when they were finally out the door! I’ll have to be honest, I cheered right along with them! *yawn* — My eyes are getting very heavy now so I’m going to go catch up on my sleep.