‘Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man’ – Dalai Lama
When asked what an emergency is it becomes very easy to overlook what the definitions and parameters of an emergency plan are for instance, the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004 –a document which underpins the foundations of the emergency planning world- states that the emergency plans “should focus on at least three key groupings of people –the vulnerable, victims and responder personnel”. But where do animal companions come into the equation? Animals are well known to be comforting companions during a crisis but how can we comfort these beloved creatures in an emergency; well the simple answer is to prepare pets for an emergency and take the preparatory steps necessary to provide your pet with as much ease as possible during an event because after all our pets can’t always vocalize their feelings – except for the occasional talking Meerkat or parrot!
What can you do to support your pet? It is always best to take your pets with you in an evacuation, never leave your pets at home unless you absolutely can’t help it. If you have to leave your pet, bring them inside and keep them upstairs with a food and water supply to last 5-7 days. There are many things you can do to prepare your pet for an emergency such as, arranging an animal boarding facility but remember when picking a safe haven for your pets that if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your furry companions. In an incident if you are evacuated to one of our rest centers we will accept pets but it is important to have your pet’s microchipped and keep pets up to date with vaccinations, without the relevant vaccinations your boarding facility choices may be limited. Although all of our rest centers accept pets, it is still your responsibility to care for the welfare of your companion and you can do this by preparing a Pet Grab Bag with all the necessary items you may need in an emergency. When preparing for an incident you should also consider designated caregivers to look after your pets, or a neighbour, family or friend who could let you and your pet stay in the event of an emergency.
One of the best preparatory actions you can take today is by requesting a Pet Alert Sticker which you can get free of charge from CSW Resilience or by purchasing a sticker from various retailers online. During an emergency having a pet sticker in a visible window will notify responders that there are pets in your property. Though the stickers are easy to use please remember if you evacuate the property with your pets, if time allows write EVACUATED across the sticker or remove the sticker completely.
This blog has hopefully highlighted just a few ways to prepare your pets so you can take a paw in the right direction to resilience! For more information on prepared pets take a look around our Prepared Pets pages. You can request your free Pet Alert Sticker by contacting the CSW Resilience Team and remember, if you have any tips for looking after pets in an emergency why not share them with us.
By Heleena Chauhan