(PRESS RELEASE)_PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – As the 2023 hurricane kicks off in South Florida, the animal rescue experts at American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, are issuing key tips to help you keep yourself, your family, and your animals safe – before, during, and after a storm.
Before the storm
· Microchip pets or put a tag on their collar with your name, address, and cellphone number so they may be returned quickly in case you are separated from your pets.
· Tie down or anchor outside objects that might fly about and injure someone.
· Evacuate your family and pets as early as you can and remember to take your disaster preparedness kit for your pets (First Aid kit, leashes, and pet carrying cases, bowls, sanitation materials, chew toys, and a minimum 3 days, ideally 7-10 days of food, medications, and water).
· Bring pets inside; bring outdoor animals inside with a carrier ready large enough to turn around and lie down comfortably.
· Review your evacuation plan and double-check emergency supplies, bowls, water, food.
· Have a carrier at the ready.
· If your family must evacuate, take your pets with you.
During the storm (if you cannot evacuate)
· Choose a safe room for riding out the storm—an interior room without windows – and take your entire family there, including your pets.
· Stay with pets. If crated, they depend on you for food and water.
· Keep your emergency kit in that room with you (food, water, litter, meds).
· Know your pet’s hiding places. That’s where they may run; keep them with you.
· Secure exits and cat doors so pets can’t escape into the storm.
· Do not tranquilize your pets. They’ll need their survival instincts should the storm require that.
After the storm
· Make sure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess damages before allowing animals out.
· Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier. Displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris could harm them.
· Give pets time to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause a pet to become confused or lost.
· Keep animals away from downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.
· Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, too, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet’s behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children, or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their own home.
“Hurricanes are among the deadliest of storms,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Fortunately, American Humane Rescue has worked in disaster relief for more than 100 years and has amassed a lot of practical knowledge on how families can prepare and, if there is no way to avoid the storms, weather them as well as possible and keep loved ones safe afterwards.”
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