Continued dry conditions and relentless winds make me worried. A fire could so easily start and what if I am at work with my dogs left at home? Or out of the county? I am sure that I am not alone in these worries. So here is some advice about how to prepare for an emergency none of us want to happen.
First, have a plan. Talk with your neighbors and friends. Get their phone numbers. If a fire breaks out and you are not able to get to your home, have people you can call who know your animals and can get them out safely.
Research where you and your animals will go to for a safe haven before you need to find one. Look for hotels, friends or family you can stay with for a few weeks if necessary with your pets. Line up temporary pet caregivers if needed.
If you are home with your pets, be able to round them up quickly and take them with you. Have collars with ID tags on your pets already. Put together an emergency kit and keep it in a place you can easily find.
An emergency kit should include:
Pet first aid kit
3-7 days of food
Litter and litter trays for cats
Poop bags, towels, soap and disinfectant solution
Food and water dishes
Extra collars/harnesses and leashes
Copies of recent, relevant medical records and prescriptions
Two weeks worth of medicine if needed
Seven days of bottled water
Recent photos of your pets
Copies of microchip and ID information
Travel crates and blankets
Toys, chews, etc.
Put things into waterproof and easy-to-carry containers.
It's a good idea to crate train your pet before you need to use one during an emergency. That way, their crate is already a safe haven for them, rather than something associated with the stress and fear of an evacuation.
Finally, place a sign in your window to help evacuation personnel know the number and type of animals you have, your contact info and your veterinarian's contact info. If you have already evacuated with your pets, please note that on the sign.
More information can be found at the Summit County Animal Shelter or on its website. You can also sign up to be notified by text message or email in case of an emergency at www.scalert.org. If you are interested in becoming trained as a volunteer to help with pet evacuations and care in case of an emergency, please contact the Summit County Animal Shelter.
Let's all hope for the best, but be prepared just in case.
Louisa Morrissey is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and owner of Skijor n-More. She is also a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and a licensed Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer. www.skijornmore.com