HOUSTON, TX- Destructive hurricanes over the past few years, including Rita and Katrina, made clear the need to make the safety of family pets a top priority in the midst of a disaster. In honor of National Preparedness Month, BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions partnered with the City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management to provide pet owners with the information they need to prepare a plan for their pet before a disaster occurs.
“Thinking about what’s best for your pet before disaster strikes is critical to your pet’s safety and well-being,” said Alfred Moran, the director of the City of Houston Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department, which oversees BARC. “Having a plan, a pet emergency kit and a way to stay informed will help minimize the effects of disaster for you, your family and your pet.”
Visit the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management website to view a printable pamphlet that provides step-by-step instructions on what to include in a pet emergency kit and the importance of developing a plan for pets whether your family evacuates or stays at home during an emergency. The pamphlet also provides Houstonians with ways to stay informed during a disaster and tips on how to get pets reacquainted with their surroundings afterwards.
“Our pets are a very important part of our families, and keeping them safe during a disaster should be a top priority,” said Michael Walter, Public Information Officer for the City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management. “This pamphlet is an excellent go-to resource that provides Houston’s pet owners with the tools they need to ensure the health and safety of their pets in an emergency.”
Below are some of the highlights included in the pamphlet:
Have a Pet Emergency Kit:
Before a disaster occurs, put together a Pet Emergency Kit that includes items your pets use on a regular basis, including food, water, medications and familiar toys.
It is also important to ensure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations and all medical records, including a rabies certificate and pet license information, should be included in the kit.
Having your pet microchipped greatly increases your chance of being reunited with your pet should he or she get lost during a disaster. Read more about pet microchipping here.
Have a Plan for Pets:
Whether the family plans to stay at home or evacuate, pets should never be left behind during an emergency. Remember, if it is not safe for people, it is not safe for pets.
If an emergency requires evacuation, pack a pet emergency kit beforehand and decide whether it is best for your pet to stay at a shelter. If you plan to take your pet with you, be sure the place where the family is going accepts pets. Also, set aside a specific time every year to update your pet’s license, veterinary, and microchip information. This information is crucial to reuniting your pet with your family if he or she becomes lost.
Having a way to stay informed about emergencies is a key part of being prepared for a disaster. Be sure to visit HoustonOEM.net and sign up for AlertHouston, the City’s Emergency E-mail Notification System.
If your pet is lost during a disaster, begin the search for him or her immediately by visiting the “Search Lost Pets” page on www.HoustonBARC.com.
Then view the entire pamphlet at HoustonOEM.net.
Visit www.HoustonBARC.com for more information and tips on taking care of your pet in an emergency. For more information on what your family can do to prepare for emergencies and disaster, visit the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management website at www.houstonoem.net.
Christopher Newport, BARC Spokesman
BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions
Michael Walter, Public Information Officer
Office of Emergency Management