UAN’s five disaster preparedness essentials can keep people and pets safe when disaster strikes
SACRAMENTO, CA (May 29, 2008) – Hurricane season officially begins in the United States on June 1, and United Animal Nations (UAN) encourages all pet owners living along the Eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico to make disaster plans that include their animals.
“Animals left to fend for themselves during disasters suffer terribly, and evacuees can compound their own stress by worrying about the pets they left behind,” said UAN president Nicole Forsyth. “For both human and animal safety, it is vital that every family living within striking distance of a hurricane include their animals in their evacuation plans.”
UAN recommends all pet owners practice the following Five Animal Disaster Preparedness Essentials:
1. Identify evacuation locations
If a disaster forces you from your home, bring your animals with you. This is the safest choice – both for you and your animals. Identify pet-friendly hotels, boarding kennels, ranches and loved ones outside of your immediate area that could accommodate your pets. Search for pet-friendly hotels at www.bringyourpet.com or www.petswelcome.com.
2. Identify pets with tags and permanent microchips
A microchip, a tiny tracking device, is the single best way to reunite lost pets with their families. Inserting a microchip is as quick and easy as giving a vaccination; veterinarians and many animal control agencies offer the service. Make sure to update your microchip information if you move, get a new phone number or change emergency contacts.
3. Start a buddy system
If disaster strikes while you are not home, your animals could be stranded behind disaster
4. Assemble a disaster kit for each pet
A disaster kit contains food, water, medication and other supplies you may not be able to get if roads and business are closed. Assemble a disaster kit for each animal in your household and keep it near an exit so you can easily grab it if forced to leave.
5. Take photos of you with your pets
If you are separated from your pets, photographs can prove ownership if you must reclaim them from a shelter. Keep copies of these photos in your wallet and in your disaster kit.
More disaster planning tips are available at www.uan.org.
Visit the UAN Store to order disaster supplies, including the useful Personal Animal Disaster Planning Handbook, a central location in which pet owners can record and store all of the information they will need in the event of an evacuation.
Through its volunteer-driven Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS), UAN provides free emergency sheltering for animals in communities that become overwhelmed by natural disasters or other crises. Since 1987, UAN has responded to more than 70 disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003.