Amid rushed evacuations, strong winds, and approaching floodwaters of a disaster, chaos often ensues, forcing families to make impossible decisions about the animals that are part of their families. It’s never easy to leave a pet behind but often, there is no choice.
These situations may not always be preventable but having a plan in place can give your pets their best chance. Keep that plan, and the tools needed to implement it, within an emergency kit tailored specifically to your pet.
Here’s the top 10 items recommended for your kit:
- Food. At least a three-day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
- Water. At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
- Medicines and medical records. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
- First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
- Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.
- Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
- Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
- A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
- Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
Visit Ready.gov’s Pets and Animals Preparedness page for more information.
The children sat in rapt attention, their faces upturned, hanging on the words being read aloud from the book, “Molly and the Earthquake.”
Tilting the book so all could see the pastel-colored illustrations, the woman continues to read.
“Children, it feels like we’re having an earthquake. Get under the table. Remember: Drop, cover, and hold on,” said Miss Chris calmly, but firmly. The preschoolers slid back their chairs and got under the table, just like they’d practiced in their earthquake drills, but Molly started to cry and headed for the door.”
“Molly and the Earthquake” is one of four books by Hannah C. Watkins that tell the story of a child’s experience with a natural disaster.
In two sessions one recent Saturday afternoon, FEMA employees read from the 20-page book to groups of children ranging in age from preschoolers to high school teens. Parents of the younger children sat beside them on tiny benches.
They heard the story of how Molly and her classmates at Happy Hearts Preschool crouched under tables as their classroom began to shake, how they watched as pretzels tumbled from their cups, the hamster cage crashed to the floor and books slid off the shelves.
The book weaves a tale of bravery as Molly experiences an earthquake for the first time.
The reading was held at a Barnes and Noble store in Anchorage which sponsors a monthly Book Fair hosted by neighboring schools. This was FEMA’s opportunity to teach the children that bravery doesn’t mean a lack of fear. Instead, bravery is a decision to be courageous in the face of fear.
For Molly, being brave meant deciding she and her classmates would follow the directions of their teacher, Miss Chris.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted parts of Alaska last Nov. 30, and the aftershocks have not stopped. In the five months since then, the Municipality of Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough have experienced over 7,800 aftershocks.
The parents and kids who listened to Molly’s story had a chance to ask questions of the FEMA employees and take home handouts, from coloring books to construction tips, that matched their age group.
At the end of the reading, a FEMA employee asked the kids if they remembered what they should do during an earthquake. The response came from a shy 7-year-old boy.
“Get under the table,” he said.
A wise reminder to us all.
Did you know?
Alaska has more earthquakes per year than the other 49 states combined.
The moon has earthquakes, too!
Earthquake magnitude tells how much energy is released.
This energy is measured by a seismograph.
Do you know what to do if the earth starts shaking?
Visit Ready.gov/earthquakes for more information.
For more information on Alaska’s disaster recovery, visit FEMA.gov/disaster/4413, Twitter.com/FEMARegion10 and Facebook.com/FEMA.
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FEMA's mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has faced discrimination, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (FEMA), voice/VP/711. Multilingual operators are available. TTY users may call 800-462-7585.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. TTY users may also call 800-877-8339. Applicants may also email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or visit SBA at www.SBA.gov/disaster.
Over the past several years, our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners have experienced, first hand, destruction caused by floods in communities across the country. In fact, for the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons combined, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid its policyholders more than $11 billion to assist in their recovery efforts. And yet, that amount doesn’t touch the thousands of others with flood losses who weren’t insured.
The state of Virginia was no exception. Tropical Storm Michael and Hurricane Florence impacted the Old Dominion with back-to-back flood events in September and October of 2018. Neither flood event reached the level of a presidential disaster declaration, leaving many Virginians without individual federal assistance to rebuild and repair their homes and businesses.
Those Virginians who had flood insurance policies received a total of $7,927,742 in claims as of January 31, 2019. This vital assistance helped them rebuild their lives and businesses.
Unfortunately, only three percent of Virginians have flood insurance. Virginia has committed to address this financial vulnerability. This year, the state of Virginia proclaimed the second week of March Flood Awareness Week, which focused on closing the insurance gap and encouraging residents to purchase flood insurance.
Virginia isn’t alone in appreciating the need to close the flood insurance coverage gap. Oklahoma has experienced numerous historical flood events. For example, the May 1943 flood damaged several communities along the Arkansas River. Over the past 50 years, the NFIP has paid nearly $200 million to impacted Oklahomans. To recognize the value of flood insurance, Oklahomans celebrate Flood Insurance Awareness for the entire month of March.
Often, after severe weather events, I visit flooded communities, meet claims adjusters, and talk with disaster survivors whose lives have been turned upside down. The power of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me, although I am beginning to see the tide change from a nation of disaster response and recovery to a disaster resilient and insured nation.
Movements start at the grassroots level. Like Virginia and Oklahoma, states can lead the way by informing their citizens the value and benefits of flood insurance and by encouraging them to take action.
In the years to come, I’m hopeful that this movement will transform communities and lead to more insured disaster survivors, quicker recovery, and less disaster suffering. The measure of success will be meeting with individuals who are on the road to recovery more quickly because they’ve protected their homes and belongings through flood insurance after a severe weather event.
For more information about the value of flood insurance, visit www.Floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-4661.