Severe weather action plan
Striking lightning, hail and wailing sirens can frighten and confuse our pets, we know, but our composure as owners also influences their behavior.
When time is of the essence, planning ahead and having your storm-safe area ready will tremendously enhance your ability to protect yourself and your beloved pets.
Homes with basements have an obvious advantage. During the spring, we keep our pet taxis "staged" for rapid deployment. With three pets of our own, it may take up to 15 minutes to corral them and secure them in our storm-proofed area.
If you haven't a basement, identify the innermost area that offers protection from flying debris, such as a hallway or bathroom.
Once you've determined your safe zone, and at the risk of being redundant, check to make sure it isn't near the major gas/electrical connections, and that it is well-constructed to withstand the possible collapse of the structure.
Now that we know where to go, get it ready by keeping it stocked with a good first-aid kit, a gallon or two of sealed water, batteries and battery powered lighting and radio, a tarp/blanket, the pet kennel itself (we keep ours upturned with the door open for quick deposits, and another soft-sided one upstairs for additional transport), pet food or treats to use as enticements, and a pry-bar type tool to use if you become trapped.
As you stock food and water for your family, make sure you include food and water for your pet family members, too.
Having these items in place can be something you do seasonally or leave year-round. The other half of your plan should include making sure you have your cellphone/laptop, identification, insurance info and some cash. This will help more than you can imagine if you lose your home.
Get to know your neighbor and discuss with them what to do if you're away from home and your pets need rescue/shelter. Most people are willing to help, even if they don't know each other.
For Safe Pets Trust clients the good news is that we've already developed a template for your pets and home that can be easily practiced and implemented in disaster emergencies. We can help you customize a plan for your peace of mind and help you remain calm in the eye of the storm.