Hurricane Katrina and Disaster Preparedness
by Dale P Green
September 2, 2005
Everyone has something to say about this weeks' past events. The emails that I'm getting daily asking for help with rescue in New Orleans and the surrounding areas is tremendous. Unfortunately, not one single instance has been given - just global requests for help. Please, rest assured that I have offered to help - often. ARNNE has also offered to step up to the plate, including use of a horse trailer to transport animals and the use of vehicles. Michele and I will rearrange our schedules to transport if needed. We just need to hear about WHAT and WHEN.
If there is any light in the realm of this horrific event, the SPCA in New Orleans had several previous storms to practice, and had already put their disaster plan in place - having moved their residents to another shelter in Texas before the storm hit! That says nothing at all for the remaing farm animals, domestic animals and wildlife affected in the area.
We have worked in the past with a rescue in Metarie (one town over from New Orleans). I have emailed but heard nothing back - not that I expect to at this point in time. It's unlikely they even have electricity. (correction, this morning she said she was FINE, in Florida, and they were searching for some missing foster families!)
That being said, there is a possibility that we are going to Louisiana to help with dogs. I read everywhere - from the K9 Training lists that I'm on to the rescue lists to receiving emails from any dog friend that exists (and I have MANY of those)... everyone's looking for donations. Well - if we are driving to Louisiana, we will be too (especially with gas at >$3 gallon!). If you want to help make a difference, let me know. I will email you when/if we are going. We transport well. Anyone who knows us, KNOWS we do a great job with this.
Blessed are the beasts and the children. No matter what faith you are.
Disaster Preparedness for Pets
The HSUS has a wonderful site with information about preparedness for all animals. When I lived in Winchester, I was in the nuclear zone (No, I DID NOT know this when I bought the house). The evacuation information that was delivered annually said that shelters would NOT accept my pets... Meaning I'd be going elsewhere, because my PETS were not being left behind.
HSUS Web Site
Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, hazardous material spills -- disasters can strike anytime, anywhere. If you think you will never have to evacuate unless you live in a flood plain, near an earthquake fault line or in a coastal area, you may be tragically mistaken. It is imperative that you make preparations to evacuate your family and your pets in any situation. In the event of a disaster, proper preparation will pay off with the safety of your family and pets.
If You Evacuate, Take Your Pets
The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you when you evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Animals left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
If you leave, even if you think you may be gone only for a few hours, take your animals. Once you leave, you have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
Leave early -- don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.