Disaster (dih zas ter). A calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.
We don't ever like to think about it, but disasters can happen at any moment – be it a widely observed disaster such as a tornado or flood; to our own personal disasters, such as loss of a family member or acute illness. In any event, it is important to be prepared and have a disaster preparedness plan in place.
Being prepared consists of two basic components:
- a plan – such as an evacuation plan for a house fire; an evacuation plan for environmental calamities; or a plan for your pets upon personal tragedy.
- An evacuation kit – this is a kit that is stocked with items of immediate need – such as an extra cell phone, medications, food, medical records, etc.
The plan consists of a series of steps that take place in response to unanticipated events. Having specific tasks previously assigned and practicing the plan is vital for a smoother process. Make neighbors, friends and family aware of your plan; this will ensure action is taken in case events happen while you are away from home.
Have your house marked with appropriate signage alerting first responders to the whereabouts of your pets. Ensure your evacuation kit is readily accessible for other people to grab and go if needed.
The evacuation kit consists of necessities in case you need to be away from home for a period. Items such as extra food, water, medications and an extra cell phone would be included. An exhaustive list of recommended items can be found at The AVMA Disaster website and as part of the presentation on our website. Be sure to keep this kit in an easily accessible area; ensure medications and food are kept fresh. If you want to get involved, Minnesota Responds is an all volunteer organization that is in place to help communities in need in case of an emergency. Visit The Minnesota Responds website for information on how to join and get involved.
We hope you will never need to use a disaster plan – but having one in place will go a long way to reducing stress and ensure safety for you and your pets in an otherwise harried time.
Additional sources of information on the web: