By Diana L. Guerrero
Hurricane season is here again. Hordes of communities plan and execute strategies according to the unique needs of the district and the level of threat-but it never lessons the impact.
Hurricane Pet Care Tips
According to animal disaster expert Diana L. Guerrero, “Veterans of hurricane communities are familiar with the basic steps and supplies required for disaster preparedness and the safest routes to inland destinations, but many people forget to include their animals in those plans. And no matter how much you prepare you can never really brace yourself for the wreckage a disaster creates in your life or the life of those that you love.”
Guerrero is the author of the booklet, “Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals” and is one of the contributing editors to “Resources for Crisis Management in Zoos and Other Animal Care Facilities, Volume I.” The second volume is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2006. In addition to her written works, she holds numerous certifications in the animal disaster field from groups such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). She has also worked with many of the nation’s animal disaster rescue groups.
“In any disaster, people should evacuate with their animals. If a situation is unsafe for humans it is unsafe for animals.” Guerrero continued. “Animals are not usually allowed in human emergency shelters due to health precautions and limited space. Contacting local animal shelters and other animal service agencies in advance of a disaster is a critical preparedness step. People prepare can eliminate additional stress simply by checking on what networks are established locally, with other counties, and with the national animal rescue groups-and by learning how they can obtain assistance from the network.”
Her animal disaster booklet, now in the seventh edition, offers tips to prepare prior to a disaster, how to form or get involved in a animal disaster preparedness network, and what items to include in kits for dogs, cats, horses, and birds. Guerrero also includes tip sheets for behavior, identification, health, diet, and sanitation for multiple species during a disaster.
The booklet ends with a section on post disaster animal behavior and list valuable resources for the pet owner including animal disaster agencies, where to get training, and suppliers of kits and equipment.
Guerrero’s hurricane hints are: