June is Pet Preparedness Month and Mississippi Deputy State Veterinarian Dr. Brigid Elchos reminds us how it fits into readying your community’s overall preparedness.
“Animal emergencies are people issues,” said Elchos. “Addressing animal issues can save people’s lives. People consider animals part of the family—we’re saving the whole family.”
Since more than half of U.S. households own at least one pet, local health departments can expect that animals will be a consideration for the majority of local families during an emergency response.
Below are tips and resources to help your community prepare.
Renee Poirrier, unit leader of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), advises that anyone responsible for animals needs to have a plan for their care in the event of an emergency. For animal facilities, this includes what to do in the event of a chemical spill nearby or a facility fire.
Beth Adcock, unit leader of the Mississippi Veterinary MRC, encourages people to make a plan, build a pet evacuation kit, know where to go if you need to evacuate (plan for a place that takes animals), be current on your pet’s vaccinations, bring a photo of your pet, and have your pet microchipped.
Lais Costa, unit leader for the University of California, Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team MRC, advises pet owners to teach your animal to load or be put in a carrier.
“Help them to associate the carrier with safety and a good experience so that,” said Lais. “If they need to be transported in an emergency, they can do so quickly and safely.”
- From the American Veterinary Medical Association, the “Saving the Whole Family” brochure is available in English and Spanish
- Tips on making a plan, building a kit and staying informed
- Prepare Your Pets for Disasters Brochure (PDF)
- Mississippi Department of Human Services Pet Preparedness and Evacuation Brochure (PDF)
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shares six ways to prepare pets for an emergency, including special considerations for birds, reptiles, and small animals