This year has been one of unique challenges due to COVID-19, forcing us to stay at home. But the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has already had 9 named storms, “the most ever recorded since the satellite era began in 1966,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The fire season in California is expected to be worse than ever this year, and there have already been 672 tornadoes so far.
Chances are, you have a preparedness plan for your family, but did you include your pets in that plan? If not, today is not too soon to prepare in case you need to vacate your home in an emergency. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes that masks and social distancing are not the only ways we need to protect ourselves in this unusual new “normal.” They remind us that leaving your pets out of your evacuation plans can spell disaster for you, your pets, and first responders. Here’s what they suggest.
Before an emergency, familiarize yourself with the kinds of disasters that are not uncommon in your area. Make a list of pet-friendly hotels where you can take refuge if you have to evacuate your home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your pet in case you’re not home when an emergency occurs. Make an animal hospital and veterinarian’s contact information part of the important information in your own preparedness kit.
Other critical things to do before disaster happens include making sure your pet wears a collar and tag with up-to-date contact information. If you haven’t done it already, seriously consider having your pet microchipped. Be sure you register the microchip with the manufacturer and update your contact information immediately when anything changes.
You should have a leash and carrier near the exit and be sure your car is equipped with equipment for traveling with your pet. To be thoroughly prepared, check out the CDC’s Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit (free) and gather all documents and items just in case 2020 throws more surprises at us this year!