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Hurricane Check List

Tips to keep you and your pet safe during hurricane season

By Patricia Collier
Owner, FloridaPets.net

The link to our yearly Pet Friendly Emergency Shelter Guide is here

If you're reading this, hurricane season in Florida is either coming soon or has already arrived. Yes, you read the same stuff every year about how to prepare, but would you really know what to do to keep your animals safe and sound if a monster storm was approaching your town? Here are some tips that simply bear repeating - just cut the center column of this page out and stick it to your refrigerator or bulletin board:

BEFORE THE STORM

Prepare a hurricane kit for your pets to include:

____1. Secure pet carriers for cats and small dogs and sturdy leashes/harnesses for larger dogs and appropriate-sized crates or cages for other type pets such as reptiles, birds, etc.

___2. Place medications and medical records, including proof of current vaccinations, in a waterproof container.

___3. Check and see if your vet provides something like a laminated card with proof of current vaccinations at each annual visit which can be used at motels and hotels in case evacuation is necessary.

___4. A two week supply of any medication your pet may be taking on a regular basis and familiar food and water. Also take bowls and a manual can opener.

___5. Cat litter/pan, extra litter and a litter scooper.

___6. An information sheet including: medical conditions and treatment schedule if needed, feeding instructions, name and phone number of your veterinarian or a kennel outside your area in case you need to board your pets - an arrangement which is, of course, not going to be your first choice. Trust us, it's simply safer to keep your pet(s) with you during times of disasters.

___7. Current photos of your pet(s) in case they get lost. Also, be sure each of your animals have name tags, rabies tags, etc., securely fastened to their collars. Important Note: When planning to evacuate, attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter or of a friend/relative outside the affected area to the back of your pet's ID tag.

___8. Portable pet beds, a familiar blanket, and lots of toys.

___9. Plan ahead to have a safe place to take your pets because public shelters, like the ones operated by the Red Cross, do not allow family pets. Service dogs are an exception.

___10. Don't wait until the last minute to make plans for your pets. And don't even think about leaving them home! You would never forgive yourself if something happened to them because you left them behind to fend for themselves. Prepare now by doing the following:

___ 11. Ask friends or relatives outside the affected area if they are willing to shelter you and your animals. If not, see item # 2.

___ 12. Check out FloridaPets.net's list of pet-friendly vacation facilities throughout the state of Florida. If necessary, contact other lodging facilities outside your area to check on policies on accepting pets and any restrictions on number,size and species. "No pet" policies are sometimes waived in an emergency.

___13. Review the FloridaPets.net yearly Pet Friendly Emergency Shelter Guide which lists pet-friendly shelters in each county as we receive word of them. Bookmark the page and return to it if a storm approaches your area.

___14. Always keep a list of all these "pet friendly" places with your other emergency supplies.

AS THE STORM APPROACHES

___1. Know your evacuation zone.

___2. Remember, all mobile home residents must evacuate regardless of location.

___3. Hurricane guides with evacuation zone maps are available from local media sources, grocery stores and other merchants. Keep one in your home and one in your vehicle.

PREPARING TO EVACUATE

If you feel you might have to leave your property to ensure everyone's safety:

___1. Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements.

___2. Bring all pets into the house so you won't have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.

___3. Be sure all pets are wearing their collars and I.D. tags.

___4. Be sure your pet's hurricane kit, discussed above, is ready to travel.

___5. Remember: animals - like people - will react differently when under stress. Keep all dogs securely leashed and cats in sturdy carriers. Even a normally calm pet may panic and try to escape or even bite in a stressful situation.

AFTER THE STORM

___1. Whether or not you physically left your home, walk your pet(s) outside on a leash until they become re-oriented to their surroundings.

___2. Don't allow pets to consume food or water which may have become contaminated.

___3. Watch for downed power lines and other debris that can be hazardous to both you and your pet(s).

___4. If your electric is out for awhile and you use alternate sources of light, never leave an open flame from candles, oil lamps, etc., unattended around your animals.

DO THIS NOW

Print the above checklist
Trim sides from page
Slide list into a plastic protector
Prepare list of local emergency numbers
Store both lists with hurricane supply box



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