The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Citizen Corps is asking veterinarians to educate clients about National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, May 8. The government created the observance to raise awareness about the importance of planning for pets’ safety before disaster strikes.
Disasters include hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, floods, earthquakes and oil spills, among others.
Veterinarians can turn to the American Veterinary Medical Association for resources. The AVMA offers “Saving the Whole Family,” a client brochure on providing for pets during an emergency, and “Disaster Preparedness for Veterinary Practices,” a brochure specifically for veterinarians. These and other disaster planning resources are available at: AVMA.org/disaster/default.asp.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also offers a brochure for veterinarians and pet owners. The brochure, developed in consultation with the AVMA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club and the Humane Society of the United States, outlines three key steps in pet disaster preparedness:
1. Prepare. Get a pet emergency supply kit, including food, water, medicines and medical records, first aid kit, collar with ID tag, leash or harness, crate or pet carrier and sanitation items.
2. Plan: What will you do in an emergency? Create a plan to get away and develop a buddy system.
3. Stay informed: Know about the types of emergencies.
The brochure can be found at Ready.gov/america/_downloads/pets.pdf.
A website that teaches children how to prepare pets is at FEMA.gov/kids/pets.htm.
For those who want to get more creative, the Citizen Corps recommends partnering with pet stores to hold an event offering pet disaster kit shopping lists and giveaways, such as identification tags.
Veterinarians and related groups also can turn to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, established by the AVMA in 1963, for financial help and other resources. For instance, the AVMF offers both startup and matching grants to state veterinary medical associations and nonprofit organizations for disaster training activities, medical supplies and equipment.
In addition, the AVMF may reimburse veterinarians for the veterinary care provided to animal victims of a disaster and for the restoration of veterinary infrastructure affected by disaster. For details, visit AVMF.org.