HSL HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS GUIDELINES
Hurricane Katrina taught us the hard way that the safety of our animals must be made a priority in the event of a disaster. We know we must make preparations now–before the storm– in order to avoid chaos and confusion later. The following guidelines are designed to help you make these preparations to ensure the wellfare of your pets this hurricane season.
1) EVACUATE WITH YOUR ANIMALS! Acquire appropriately sized pet carriers for each animal. If your pet is unaccustomed to traveling in a carrier, do some trial runs, so the experience will not be completely new when you evacuate. Label each carrier with your contact information, and the name of the pet inside.
2) PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF YOUR PETS DURING AND AFTER THE EVACUATION. Create a Pet Evacuation Kit so that everything they need is packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation. Click here for our list of recommended provisions for your pet’s kit.
3) MAKE SURE YOUR PET IS UP TO DATE ON ALL VACCINATIONS. Ideally, you will be able to keep your animals with you throughout the evacuation process; but in the event that they must be boarded at a shelter, vet, or other boarding facility, your animal must be current on all vaccinations to be admitted. You will be required to show proof of these vaccinations. Ask your vet for a copy of your pet’s vaccination record, including a current rabies license and tag.
4) HAVE YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED. We highly recommend this animal identification and tracking system. A tiny microchip is injected under the animal’s skin, where it remains for the duration of your pet’s life. The chip poses no threat to your pet’s health, and the injection is quick and relatively painless, much like the vaccination process. Your pet’s personal identification number is read by a scanning device routinely used by most humane societies, shelters, animal control, and veterinarians. You will then be contacted as to the location of your pet. (At the very least, have identification tags with your pets name, your address and phone number, securely affixed to your pet’s collar).
5) CREATE AN IDENTIFICATION FILE FOR EACH PET. This is an insurance policy against the irrevocable loss of your pet in the event of a disaster. The file should include current photographs of your pet (you will have to show a photograph to have your animal released to you from a shelter, or other holding facility; including yourself in the photos will facilitate this process), microchip identification number, adoption papers, a written description of your pet (feline, female, 7 years old, grey tabby, 10 lbs, etc), a description of your pet’s distinctive markings (white paws, black spot on back, etc.), diet, medications, vaccination history, behavioral issues and personality. Place the file in a water-proof folder, and put it with your Pet Evacuation Kit.
6) SECURE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR YOUR PET BEFORE THE STORM. Establish where your pet will be housed in the event of an evacuation. Ideally, you will be traveling to friends or family who are willing and able to house your pets. For many of us, other arrangements must be made. Locate pet-friendly hotels, boarding facilities, and shelters in the area to which you will be evacuating. Secure reservations for your animals if possible, and get directions to the hotel or boarding facility. For a list of websites featuring pet-friendly accommodations, click here.
|pet food ( 2 week supply; don’t forget the manual can opener if you bring canned food!)|
|water (2 week supply)|
|pet bowls leashes and/or harnesses medications (including heart worm preventative, flea preventative)|
|pet carriers, labeled with your contact information pet identification folders vaccination history (including rabies license and tags)|
|pet first aid kit (see below for contents)|
|emergency contact numbers (your veterinarian’s phone number, for example)|
|list of pet-friendly hotels, shelters, boarding facilities|
|maps with evacuation routes (Contraflow maps are available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart locations in the greater New Orleans area.)|
|pet toys, pet beds, and/or blankets|
|treats, litter box, litter, and scoop dog-poop bags paper towels trash bags|
|flashlight, batteries and radio|
|Gauze pads (assorted sizes) Conforming bandage||Latex gloves|
New Orleans now has an extensive hurricane evacuation plan. We recommend all Greater New Orleans residents acquaint themselves with the specifics of this plan, particularly information that is pertinent to the safety of their pets. To review information on evacuation, go to http://new.nola.gov/ready/hurricane-season/
Ideally, you should take your pets with you to a prearranged location out of the danger zone, such as a pet friendly hotel or the home of a family member. If that is not possible, or if you do not have transportation, you can still evacuate, even if you have pets! During a mandatory evacuation, city buses will pick up of citizens in need of assistance from 17 pick up points. They will be brought to the Union Pacific Terminal and driven to locations outside the danger zone. Those with medical issues will be assessed by the Dept of Health to ensure that medically appropriate transportation is provided.
A map of the City Assisted Evacuation points is available HERE.
IF YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE EVACUATING OR GETTING TO THE EVACUATION POINTS BECAUSE YOU HAVE PETS OR MOBILITY ISSUES OR FOR OTHER REASONS, PLEASE FILL IN THIS ASSISTANCE REQUEST IN ADVANCE, although it is not a guarantee of help. You must update and flll in this form every year.
If you require city assisted evacuation, your pet will receive the same ID as you do. If you have a small pet under 15lbs, the pet can ride with you by bus from any of the 17 evacuation points to the Union Pacific Terminal. Once at the terminal, all pets will board separate air-conditioned buses and will be taken to a separate pet shelter near your human shelter. You can visit your pet every day while at the shelter.
Please review all these plans in advance and help elders and those with multiple pets make evacuation plans. If you have difficulty making an evacuation plan because of multiple pets, please contact us NOW before a storm threatens, and we will do our best to assist you.
Please visit these websites to find accommodations for your pets:
For a comprehensive guide to animal evacuation which includes horses, livestock, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and other small mammals, please visit the American Veterinary Association (AVMA) at www.avma.org.
Other sites to visit for animal evacuation information:
la-spca.org (The Louisiana SPCA) www.hsus.org (The Humane Society of the United States) www.aspca.org (The American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty) www.loep.state.gov (The Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness)