Do you think people are usually prepared for disasters?
Generally not. Sometimes they prepare for themselves but often not for their pets.
What is the most important thing a pet owner must think about before a natural disaster strikes?
If they are going to be leaving home, are they taking their pet? And if so, are they staying in a place that allows pets?
How does the shelter plan for natural disasters?
We have a written plan for how we would help pets. If a disaster struck the shelter itself we have plans for a secondary shelter. We are also a partner of the Georgia Emergency Management Team, and if a disaster occurs anywhere in Georgia we are in a position to take our trailer and help transport animals.
If people have to leave their homes is there a place they can take their dogs and cats before they can move back home?
In disaster situations where a shelter is set up to house people, a secondary location for animals is often set up alongside in close proximity to the owners.
What if a fire breaks out in your house, what should you do?
A family plan should be in place that includes pets. People should be assigned a pet and they will be in charge of getting the assigned pet out. A meeting place should be established in the family plan in the event of fire.
Should people ever leave their pets behind?
In a disaster situation it can happen. Circumstances are sometimes such that people can barely get themselves or their children out alive.
What is the one thing that people with pets need to do or buy today to prepare for a natural disaster?
Keep a 72-hour kit that you know where it is and can get it easily to the basement or the car. A dog crate or carrier packed with water, dog food, a leash, and flashlight is a good idea for a pet owner.
Are there any other things people need to think about?
People should have an emergency plan for their pets in place if something were to happen to them. Have the discussion with family and friends, and assign someone to take care of the pet.
By Rob Macmillan, a boy who is on a mission to help shelter dogs and cats.