In case of EMERGENCY: 6 Tips
We had a wildfire scare near our home the other day. The fire started roughly 4-5 miles away, but with wind gusts over 50 mph and tinder-like dry conditions here in CA, it was scary. They evacuated thousands of families to ‘evacuation’ centers, but they don’t usually allow dogs, so I always worry about what we would do if we were evacuated. Luckily, I have family that lives close by and can always go there. But this event reminded us to review our emergency plans – something that should be done on a regular basis.
We set up an ’emergency’ plan when we moved to CA – mainly because of the obvious threat of earthquakes (although there have been very few of those). But I’m not sure that everyone thinks about this – what do you do with your pets and how do you ensure their care if there is an emergency. I thought I would share some of the things we have planned for – for ourselves and for SlimDoggy Jack & Maggie and hopefully inspire others to create a contingency or emergency plan for their families.
- We have multiple Fire Alert stickers placed in various windows and doors so if there is an emergency and we are not at home, the Fire Department is informed as to exactly how many – and what type of pets we have in the home. We have a dog door that I’m sure Jack would use to get out of the house if necessary, but Maggie is afraid of it and never uses it. I want to be sure rescuers know she’s in there and can rescue her.
- Have a rendezvous point planned with your family. You never know where you might be when a catastrophe strikes and you may not be able to return to your home. We’ve agreed to several rendezvous spots in descending priority order based on the nature of the emergency, some close to home – some farther away.Remember your cell phone might not work either, so you may not be able to reach a family member – that’s why the rendezvous points are important.
- I know many people don’t collar their dogs when they are in the house, but if you are out, they should always be collared. This not only will help identify them correctly if they have to be removed from your home, but will also assist the fire department in collecting them. Your dog may not like to be led by their collar – but it’s probably better than being picked up by a stranger when they are already frightened.
- Keep your important papers in one spot so you can grab them quickly. Including your photos. Most everything is digital nowadays, but it’s those old photos that are still on paper that you have to remember to save since you can’t recreate them.
- If your dog is on medication, make sure that it is handy to grab on your way out. It may be awhile before you could get it replaced and like it or not, in an emergency, care and medical attention is going to go to humans first. You have to watch out for your pets.
- The obvious emergency staples: canned food, water, flashlights, first aid kit. Think about your dogs needs when preparing these staples.
No place is immune from a natural disaster – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, wildfires, earthquakes, etc. “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” ― Stephen King
I’m sure our readers have many other tips – let’s get the conversation going and add your thoughts or suggestions below.