By Bryant Taylor
Don’t be a statistic! Get you and your pet ready for Hurricane Season right now. To jumpstart the process, Charleston Animal Society is teaming up with Petco Love to provide 10,000 Emergency Pet Grab ‘n Go Bags.
Look for the bags starting in July at pet-friendly events up and down
the Carolina coast, sponsored by animal shelters including Charleston Animal Society. Your new Emergency Pet Grab ‘n Go Bag will also include pet alert stickers for your home windows.
Don’t wait to prepare because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted an “above normal” season for
the Atlantic area with as many as 21 named storms. According to NOAA, roughly half of those will be hurricanes, and 3-6 of them could be major.
Hurricane season runs from June through November. “With the increased threat to our area, it is very important that your family prepare in advance and have a plan of where to go when a storm heads our way,” said Charleston Animal Society Vice President of Operations and Strategy Aldwin Roman, CAWA. “Also, a plan cannot be considered complete if it doesn’t involve every member of the household, including feathered and four-legged family members.”
WHAT DO I PUT IN MY GRAB ‘N GO BAG?
A good first step is a healthy supply of food and water for each pet, enough for at least three days – preferably a week. Bowls for the food and water will also be necessary. Next, pack extra collars, harnesses and leashes, then include a pet first aid kit.
You should also pack necessary sanitation items like poop bags, litter and litter box, and cleaning supplies to properly clean up after your pet while away. Additionally, bedding and familiar toys for your animals will help to entertain and comfort your pets during this potentially stressful disruption of their routine.
There are some important documents you will want to have prepared
to take with you as well. A copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination records should go into your kit, as proof of vaccination may be required at hotels and emergency shelters to enter. Also, you should keep an extra supply of any current medications your pet takes on a regular basis and keep them inside your emergency kit.
And in case you get separated from your pets, you should keep your pets’ microchip information, rabies tag info, and pictures of yourself with your pets in a safe and waterproof container. These items will be helpful to prove ownership and can reunite you both easily.
KIT IS PACKED, WHAT NEXT?
Once you have all your items assembled for your pet emergency supply kit, you’ll want to think of safe locations out of harm’s way to evacuate to that can accommodate the whole family. Make a list of relatives, friends, pet-friendly emergency shelters and pet-friendly hotels. Research these options ahead of time to find what works best for your situation and make the necessary arrangements to secure a spot for everyone who will make the trip.
You will also need a pet carrier or crate for each pet, one large enough for them to stand and turn around in. Wherever you evacuate to, being able to safely contain your pets will be required.
Finally, because so many animals go missing during disasters, be sure to upload a picture of your pet to the Petco Love Lost database today.
It’s completely free and you can sign-up to receive alerts about your
pet if he or she is lost and create a digital lost pet flyer to post on your social media pages. Petco Love Lost uses facial recognition technology to reunite families, just go to PetcoLoveLost.org to get started.
Bryant Taylor is Charleston Animal Society’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Manager.