Earthquake Preparedness Month
April is Earthquake Preparedness Month. So, in honor of that auspicious occasion, we would like to share some tips for making sure your preparedness efforts extend to your four-legged friends. (Let me say, I think this blog post is just about the most important one we’ve ever done. But that’s just my humble opinion):
Before the Earthquake
- Prepare. Bring pets into home before storms. Make sure pet areas are secure and free from falling object danger. Crate training is helpful. But if your pet is super smart, like my wife, our son JR and me, you can probably just say, “Stay.”
- Keep a list of phone numbers handy. Include current photos and physical description. My own photo appears at the top of this blog post…in case you ever wondered.
- Confirm your emergency evacuation plans. Practice with everyone, including your pets.
- Make a list of people who could potentially take care of your pet in your neighborhood as well as outside the area where you live, in case you are away from home when earthquakes strike. Identifying alternative housing for your pets will ensure their safe relocation during an evacuation. For example, the Ritz could work.
- Include family, friends and neighbors in the development of your emergency plans. Figure out who would be willing to care for your pets in your absence. Agree in advance how the exchange would happen and provide written authority for them to act on your behalf. Review and update the plan annually using a date that is easy to remember (like your pet’s birthday or annual vaccination appointment).
- Prepare a “Go Bag” for your pet. Here are a few ideas for what you should include:
- Food (Lots of bacon, pork chops and meat loaf)
- Bottled water
- Cleaning supplies (pooper scooper, disposal bags, litter scooper)
- Extra collar and leash
- First aid kit
- Prescription medications
- Disposable litter box (Only for cats, obviously. Yuck.)
- Cat litter (Ditto.)
- Crate (Some manufacturers make soft-sided, easy-to-store crates for travel.) Make sure ID tags and licenses are up to date. If possible, ask your vet about implanting a microchip in your pet. Pets with microchips are more likely to be safely returned to their owners in times of emergency. Or you could just teach your dog to talk so he can tell rescuers where he lives.
- Keep up on vaccinations. Make sure your pet is current on all booster shots for common contagious diseases. In an emergency, your pet could be placed with other animals that could be harboring illness.
- Make sure your dog or cat is obedient and well trained. Enroll in obedience classes if necessary. During an emergency it will be critical that your dog obeys you and can be housed cooperatively with other animals or people.
- Keep pet travel packs in easy-to-access locations.
After the Earthquake
- Grab your pet’s “Go Bag” and implement your emergency plan.
Be prepared for aftershocks, which are likely following any magic quake. Pets are ultra-sensitive to their masters’ state of mind. So try to remain calm. And we’ll do our best to return the favor.
- Try to keep your pet calm. Recognize they may be frightened or disoriented and may not behave as usual. Try to protect them from frightening experiences and monitor them closely when they interact with other animals or people, particularly children.
- If your pet is lost, contact your local animal shelter immediately. But don’t let the dogcatcher lock them up.
- Do not allow pets to roam freely. Keep them on a leash, even if they normally follow you everywhere. They will be scared and will appreciate more structure in a stressful situation.
- Pets can become easily confused and disoriented. Try to get them on a regular schedule as soon as possible after earthquake or other emergency. I know some humans who can become easily confused and disoriented too. Would it help to get them on a regular schedule?
- Monitor news stations for reports of disaster and evacuation orders, and release of those orders.
- Contact your local animal control shelter for assistance. Many provide emergency evacuation services and even provide temporary housing for displaced animals.
After the Emergency Ends
- Allow for the fact your pet may remain fearful or uncertain even weeks after the earthquake emergency. Return to normalcy as soon as possible and monitor your pet for several weeks to make sure he or she is adjusting. Serving filet mignon is also a great way to calm the savage beast.
- Check your home and property for hidden dangers and new escape routes before you bring your pet home.
- Keep pets securely confined if work crews arrive to repair property damage. Or, better yet…let us have the run of the house so we can protect you from dangerous folks like mailmen.
When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit www.RJWestmore.com for more information.