Make a plan on National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

Shannon Walajtys | May 12 2017
Use Our National Disaster Animal Preparedness Checklist

Natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and magnitude around the world. Tornadoes are striking in new areas, hurricanes are making landfall at Category 3 or 4 rather than 1 or 2, monsoon seasons are now being referred to as flood seasons, and earthquakes rumble stronger than ever before.

All animals are impacted by natural disasters; no one gets a pass regardless of their species or where they live. We are animal companions, caregivers, and animal stewards. We must accept the responsibility as guardians of our environment to reduce the impact of disasters on the animals we cherish by being aware of and reducing the threats that face us all.

As part of this approach, I am excited to share links to information about National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day to reignite the discussion around how to prepare for the next disaster that may be heading your way.

“It will never happen to me. Disasters won’t affect me and my family,” are famous and often tragic last words. Please take a moment to think about how you would evacuate your home with your pets, both small and large. Do you have a plan in place? If not, we invite you to use our checklist to create a strategy for your whole family. Make this a fun planning event so everyone can be engaged and know what to do.

In addition to pets, wild animals are vulnerable during and after disasters most often because their homes are damaged or destroyed. We need to respect their wild nature more than ever during a disaster and ensure that they continue to have safe homes. Think ahead about the wildlife in your community. Perhaps you could learn which species live near you and imagine how they may be impacted by a natural disaster. What can you do to reduce disaster risks to these special neighbors? Do you have wildlife rehabilitators or animal control officers in your region? They are trained to know exactly what to do to help animals in need. Write their information into your plan and then you and your family will know who to call if you find a sick or injured wild animal.

It is impossible to know when or where the next disaster will strike, but being prepared is the best way to ensure your family, including your furry friends, will be safe. Sit down with your family and make a plan today!

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Shannon Walajtys

Director – Disaster Response & Risk Reduction

It’s really about connecting with people--their history, their culture, their pride--that's how you grow the relationships between people and the animals in their community.

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