Tornado season is approaching which could bring high winds, floods and home damage. Disasters happen. Having a plan in place in case of fire, accidents, rail disasters or even enemy attack can help save the lives of you and your family (2 and 4-legged members). Do you know what you would do with your pets in an emergency evacuation situation?
It’s important to remember in an emergency that our pets should be treated as family. If it isn’t safe for humans, it is not safe for our pets. Leaving an animal behind will not only endanger the life of your pet, but can also put other humans in danger. Confusion, anxiety, starvation and injury may make even the most well trained pet act unpredictably or aggressively when emergency responders or even family member try to help. Your pets are a personal responsibility – having a plan in place can help one to remain calm in challenging situations.
Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006
After Hurricane Katrina, the PETS Act was implemented after the realization hit that the single most common reason humans refused to evacuate was because they didn’t know what to do with their pets.
PETS Act ensures that state and local emergency operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets following a major disaster or emergency. Service animals are actually considered to be persons.
It takes emergency responders about 72 hours to gather and prepare, so each family has to help themselves for the first 72. It is important to know that emergency responders are instructed to preserve human life.
Dangers of leaving a pet behind
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina estimated that there were 100-160,000 pets living in New Orleans before Katrina hit. It is estimated that 90% of animals died. Only 2000 were reunited with owners in spite of careful record keeping, microchipping upon intake and a website dedicated to reuniting pets and owners. Approximately 8000 pets were evacuated to other areas of the country. Many have expired in shelters and rescues and some are still living in “temporary” housing more than 10 years later.
Planning ahead may save your life and the lives of your family and pets.