National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 14

In recognition of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day on May 14, Humane Society Calumet Area in Lake County and Hill’s Pet Nutrition are joining with its network of animal shelter partners to get the word out and encourage pet parents to fully consider their pets in their emergency planning.

In times of crisis, pets are often separated from their families and left to fend for themselves. During natural catastrophes such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires, as well as man-made disasters such as hazardous chemical spills and terrorism, people are often told to leave their homes for a “short time,” only to find that they cannot return for days or even weeks. As a result, community animal shelters are overwhelmed with lost and separated cats and dogs in the wake of these events.

In 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated the second Saturday in May as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, to help pet families focus on the importance of having a family disaster plan that also includes their pets.

“The best thing a family can do in the case of an emergency is be prepared, and that includes having a plan in place for your pets,” said Arnaud Brel, Director of Hill’s Pet Nutrition Food, Shelter & Love® program. “We hope that families take into account some simple steps that will help them feel ready should disaster strike so they do not have to leave their pets behind.”

Hill’s annual campaign is aimed at educating pet families on ways that they can stay safer and be better prepared to survive a disaster. This year, Hill’s enlisted our help and other shelter partners in its Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® program to help raise awareness on the importance of becoming pet prepared. More than 60 shelters across the country are helping educate their local communities on ways that families can bolster their emergency planning.

“You never know when a disaster might strike so taking the time now to put an emergency plan in place, and having a bag packed and ready to go, can cut down on the stress often associated with an emergency,” said Dr. Ellen Lowery, Director of U.S. Veterinary and Professional Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “The more prepared you are, the faster you can move the whole family, including your pets, to safety.”

Hill’s suggests families build a Pet Emergency Go-Kit and store it with the rest of the family’s emergency preparations:
•    Basic first aid supplies
•    A 3-day supply of bottled water and the pet’s preferred food, held in a waterproof container
•    Safety harness and leash
•    Waste clean-up supplies
•    Medications and a copy of the pet’s medical records
•    List of veterinarians and local pet care organizations
•    List of the pet’s feeding routine and any behavioral issues
•    Comfort items, such as a blanket or favorite toy, to help keep the pet calm and comfortable

Hill’s also recommends the following Tips to Help Ensure Your Pet’s Safety in an Emergency:
1.    Ensure your pet’s identification by using a microchip or collar ID tag, and make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.
2.    Display a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to let first responders know there is a pet in the house. Include your veterinarian’s contact information.
3.    Learn where your pet likes to hide in your house when frightened. Finding your pet quickly will help you evacuate faster.
4.    Identify a location to take your pet if you need to leave your immediate area. Keep in mind that disaster shelters for people may not be open to pets. Scout hotels and motels with pet-friendly policies and ask relatives or friends if they could house you and your pet.
5.    Carry a picture of your pet in the event of separation.
6.    If you need to evacuate, consider taking a pet carrier or crate for transport and safe-keeping.

Hill’s Disaster Relief Network: In the event of an emergency, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network is positioned to quickly respond and aid impacted areas by supplying pet food to communities hit by disasters. The first-of-its-kind network was established in 2013 as an extension of the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® program. Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® has donated more than $280 million worth of Hill’s® Science Diet® brand pet foods to over 1,000 shelters in the United States and helped more than 8 million pets find new homes.

In the last three years, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network delivered free food to more than 60 different shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 25 major incidents—including floods in Colorado, fires in Idaho and Arizona, the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas, the mudslide in Washington state and tornadoes in the central and southern regions of the country. In 2015, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network assisted with three incidents, including the severe tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma.

Families looking to learn more about disaster preparedness and safety, as well as the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network, can visit HillsPet.com/PetPrepared. To request assistance during an emergency, shelters can contact [email protected]

To learn more about Humane Society Calumet Area, visit www.hscalumet.org.