Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are You Prepared?

Did you know?
My perspective on emergencies is probably a bit skewed since I see clients responding with animals in an 'emergent' situation almost every day. But think with me for a moment about how you might respond should a hazardous situation suddenly face your family (and yes, family includes the furry four-footed felines or canines).

Since the attacks of 9-11 rocked our world in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina devastatingly hit Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 federal, state, and local agencies have taken a hard look at their disaster plans. They all want to use the lessons learned from the terrifying days surrounding those two horrific events to be well prepared should a similar disaster hit somewhere else in our country. The reassuring part for pet owners is that companion animals and household pets now have a much more prominent place in the planning. But the planning can't be left at the government or agency level. Pet owners must think about, and take action to implement, their own disaster plan for themselves and their pets.

Let me tell you why!
Remember the Y2K scare? So many people gathered non-perishable food, created shelters, obtained generators and overall prepared for the end of the world as we knew it. Thankfully none of that materialized and the world buzzed on with clocks still ticking and computer programs working splendidly. The irony is that not many people make much effort to prepare for the seemingly mundane emergency situations that are far more likely to occur in our world at anytime, but without a specific date attached.

Colorado has its fair share of hazards that have and most likely will occur in our beautiful state. Events such as tornado, drought, counter-terrorism, avalanche, earthquake, extreme heat, flood, hail storm, landslide, lightning strike, winter storm, or wildfire are listed on the Colorado Division of Emergency Management website. The beauty of this website is that it provides information on how to respond and lists of items to have ready in case one of these disasters strikes.

There are also special websites for disaster preparedness for animals. The following is a list of resources with great information and things to think about when planning for your four footed family member.

American Veterinary Medical Association
Colorado Division of Emergency Management
State Animal Response Team
Larimer Humane Society
CDC Emergency Preparedness

So take a few moments and do your family a favor by preparing your kit, making a plan, and practicing a few drills so if, heaven forbid, a disaster comes your way you'll be as prepared as you can be and even the furriest family member will be cared for.

The moral of the story...planning and preparing prevents predicaments.

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