Tornadoes in the canada and around the world are a fact of life. Most of us know how to keep ourselves safe during a tornado, but do you have a plan for your pets?A tornado can touch down quickly and widen or gain strength once on the ground, so time is critical in staying safe. Pet owners should have an emergency plan for keeping their animals safe during a tornado or severe storm.
Make an Emergency Plan to Keep Pets Safe During a Tornado
Find a kennel, crate or cage for every animal you have. Buckets work well for fish and turtles. Keep all of the animal carriers together in an easy to get to place inside the house.
Choose the safest room in the house for surviving a tornado. A basement is best or the most interior room of the home, preferably a closet or bathroom. Tell everyone living in the house that this is the safe room for tornadoes.
Make an emergency food supply for the pets in case it is in short supply or hard to get to after the storm. Get pull tab cans or pouches for easy opening, and you can toss in a cheap bowl or paper plates. Pack a collar and leash for each dog or cat as well.
Add an extra gallon or two of water to the family emergency supply. This way there will be plenty to go around.
What To Do When a Tornado Siren Sounds or a Tornado Warning is Issued
Put all pets in cages or carriers and in the safe room when the tornado watch is issued. Animals sense bad weather and will look for a place to hide if they sense it is near. There will probably not be much of an argument from the pets in the safe room where it is quiet.
Get all people to the safe room as soon as a tornado warning is issued or a siren is sounded.
Stay in the safe room for several minutes after the storm, large tornadoes have an eye so more destruction could be coming. After several minutes of silence, carefully open the safe room door.
Leash all pets when outside after a tornado. Power lines could be down and dangerous objects will be littered about everywhere. Do not let pets outside unsupervised.
During a tornado:
- If an evacuation is possible, take your pets with you. Make sure you take your pet preparedness kit and that your animals have proper identification.
- If you cannot evacuate, take your entire family – including pets (both indoor and out) – to your tornado-safe room.
- Take your pets in and keep them inside. While there is no reason that a pet should live outside, at the first sign of an imminent storm, pets need to be secured inside the house ASAP. A doghouse will NOT provide any protection. If you can’t be outside neither can your pet!
- Do NOT leave your pets behind ever. If the situation calls for you to evacuate your home, your pet is not safe there either. Do not rely on thinking animal instinct will protect them.
- Call ahead to shelters. If you must escape and go to a shelter, remember that not every Red Cross shelter accepts animals. The time to search for shelters that accept pets is now – before you must leave. Local vets and shelters might know about nearby shelters that accept pets. You can also call nearby hotels and motels who may allowed pets. Do NOT leave your pets behind!
- Lean on friends and family. Friends and relatives who are outside your immediate area might be willing to take in your pet(s). Ask early on when first making your emergency plans.
- Create an emergency supply and travel kit. As you pack your own “Go Bag,” make one for your pet with all the necessary items he might need over a period of days. Click here to see exactly what items should be in it.
- Select a designated temporary caregiver. No one wants to think about this, but there is always a chance that you might not be able to go back to your home for a while. By predetermining a person who will take your pet in for a lengthy period of time, it not only provides protection for your beloved pet, but also gives you peace of mind that you pet will be taken care of properly.
- Secure proper identification for your pet. The ASPCA specifically advises the following: “Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.”
- Visually sum up your house and predetermine the safest points in your home. Locate the rooms that are highest if flooding is an issue. Make sure the room is window free to be safe from possible flying debris. Your best bet is to choose “easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms, and basements as safe zones.”
- Provide for sufficient and long-term water for your pet. Just like people, pets will need extra water in case of a prolonged power outage, so fill up bathtubs and sinks with water.
After the storm has passed, use caution allowing your pets and other family members outdoors.
- Exit only AFTER the entire storm has passed.
- Assess the damage yourself first before bringing your pets outside with you.
- Keep your dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
- Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm to your pet.
- Allow them to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet confusion or to become lost.
- Keep pets away from food or water or liquids that could be contaminated from the storm.
- Keep pets away from downed power lines and debris.