We have all watched the recent destruction from the tornadoes that have hit the midwest. An emergency plan is very important and pets should be included in your plan. Following the recent disaster that struck Joplin, Missouri, the experts at American Humane Association have put together a series of tips to help you plan for your family and your pets before, during and after a tornado strikes:
Before a tornado:
- Identify a tornado-safe area large enough for your entire family and pets (often a basement or the most interior room of the house on the bottom floor).
- Practice getting the entire family to the tornado-safe area quickly during calm weather.
- Make your tornado-safe area pet-friendly by removing any dangerous items such as tools or toxic products.
- Keep your family and pet preparedness kits in your tornado-safe area or close by. Ensure that you have a crate for every animal.
- Know your pet’s hiding places and how to quickly and safely extricate them. Eliminate any unsafe hiding areas from which it may be difficult to remove your animal in a hurry.
During a tornado:
- If an evacuation is possible, take your pets with you. Make sure you take your pet preparedness kit and that your animals have proper identification.
- If you cannot evacuate, take your entire family — including pets (both indoor and out) — to your tornado-safe room.
- Pets should be put in crates or carriers in the safe room. If possible, place the crates under a sturdy piece of furniture.
After the storm has passed, use caution in allowing your pets and other family members outdoors.
- Exit only AFTER the entire storm has passed.
- Assess the damage yourself first before bringing your pets outside with you.
- Keep your dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
- Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to your pet.
- Allow them to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet confusion or to become lost.
- Keep pets away from food or water or liquids that could be contaminated from the storm.
- Keep pets away from downed power lines and debris.
Photo credit: Gianni Testore