Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation on what to do when a hurricane, tornado or other emergency strikes
(Vocus) May 4, 2009 -- The number one reason people refuse to evacuate their homes during an emergency is because they do not want to leave their pets behind. According to Dr. Arnold Goldman, president of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation (CVMF) and director of the Connecticut State Animal Response Team (CTSART), "The most important action you can take to prepare your animals for an emergency is to have a plan. You may not think a disaster can hit your community, but we know all too well that it can. The primary responsibility for planning for your animals is yours."
Dr. Goldman explains, "In the case of an evacuation, you must take your pets with you. It may be impossible to return for a prolonged period after the disaster occurs. Do not endanger yourself, your family or first responders by staying when ordered to evacuate, or by attempting to re-enter the evacuated area to retrieve your pets. However, if you must evacuate without them, leave enough food and water to last at least two to three days and post a highly visible note in a front window for rescue workers detailing the number and type of pets, as well as where the pets were left."
Emergency preparedness tips from the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation:
- Make sure your pets are already micro-chipped, registered through an identification program, and that all ID tags are on them.
- Prepare yourself and your human family first. If you are unprepared, you will be unable to help your animals.
- Have a "go kit" for each member of your family, ready in case evacuation is necessary. Similarly create and maintain a "go kit" for each of your animals.
- In case you must "shelter-in-place," prepare your home and maintain the necessary supplies, adequate food, and medication for the humans and pets in your family.
- For each animal a kit should include: a two week supply of food and water; hygiene products such as cat litter, paper towels and plastic bags; a cage or crate; necessary leashes and collars; and vaccination records, photos of your pet, and your veterinarian's phone number in a waterproof bag.
- If your pets have medical needs, maintain copies of updated veterinary records and a two week supply of medications, at a minimum. Do not assume there will be veterinary care immediately available at an evacuation shelter.
- Learn in advance where "pet-friendly" public shelters will be located in your community in the event of an evacuation. In times of disaster CTSART (www.ctsart.org) may be deployed to provide shelter and safety for your pets.
- If an emergency strikes, bring pets indoors immediately. Natural disasters such as a wildfire, hurricane or tornado, can produce unhealthy air and dangerous debris.
- If you are separated from your pet, log on to Rescuers.com for a listing of nearby animal shelters. Visit shelters regularly, with a photo and veterinary records to identify your animal.
- The number one reason people refuse to evacuate their homes during an emergency is that they do not want to leave their pets behind.
- CT Animal Response Team (CTSART) is the flagship program of the CT Veterinary Medical Foundation (CVMF), and currently the only state-certified team in New England that provides preparedness, response and recovery in emergencies affecting animals.
- State government considers CTSART to be the central entity tying together agencies and participants whose goal is to respond to the needs of animals in large-scale disasters in CT.
- Disasters in which CTSART may be asked to deploy include severe wind or ice storms, floods, blizzards and hurricanes -- and accompanying power outages -- as well as terrorism.
- CT is a state that has freight and passenger railroads and airports; a shoreline with a major U.S. navy base; a U.S. coast guard facility; four bridges; pharmaceutical companies; and industrial and human infrastructure which are potential terrorist targets and subject to risk of disaster.
- Deployment of CTSART for a shelter operation is dictated by regional or state Emergency Management Directors when there are inadequate resources for the number of people and animals affected. That would likely mean at least 100 animals (approximately 50 families).
- When CTSART is deployed, equipment trailers and highly-trained volunteers arrive at the shelter site with 750 animal cages, bowls, leashes, generators, and other necessities to provide shelter and safety to animals CTSART is able to draw upon other resources to shelter even greater numbers of animals.
- Funding is being sought for a CTSART Mobile Veterinary Hospital Trailer in which medical care could be provided for pets with preexisting or other conditions (i.e. cuts, burns, dehydration), or for animals who need to be decontaminated (i.e. from chemicals), as a result of the disaster.
- CTSART has an Equine Response Unit (ERU) with a trailer that has safety and hoisting equipment and other necessities required to rescue horses. Due to the large CT horse population there are often trailer accidents, as well as horses trapped in ditches and trenches, for which the ERU can be deployed. ERU offers horse rescue training to first responders throughout CT.
- There are 34 states where similar preparedness programs exist though few are officially recognized by government or lead by veterinarians, as is CTSART. CTSART is available to help neighboring states when asked by officials.
The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to be a safety net for domestic animals and to enhance their health and welfare while promoting the human-companion animal bond. In addition to CT State Animal Response Team, CVMF programs include public health assurance through rabies education and prevention programs; public education; and veterinary medical education. CVMF is the philanthropic arm of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association which has 630 licensed veterinarians as members. It is the involvement of these veterinarians that makes the CVMF unique among animal-related charitable organizations because its key resource is the expertise of veterinarians. More info at ctvet.org
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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Connecticut_Veterinary/Dr_Arnold_Goldman/prweb2382634.htm.
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