We Learned from Hurricane Katrina but Not Enough for Tropical Storm Harvey
12 years ago our country experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and right now as I type, Texas is seeing some of the highest flood waters ever recorded from Tropical Storm Harvey.
Much like Katrina, Harvey is destroying homes, causing massive evacuations and evicting people from what was once the safety of their home. However, unlike Katrina, rescuers are not turning pets away. News outlets are posting story after story of people being rescued clutching their family pets.
Some shelters even prepared for the storm by shipping homeless animals they had in the charge before the storm to other parts of the state or country to make room for the animals that would come in, displaced by the storm.
Things are better than when Katrina hit. The documentary called Mine, illustrated the massive issues that Katrina caused the region. People were being forced from their homes without their pets, causing so many animals to be left for dead. For those being rescued, the shelters were already filled before the storms and there wasn’t enough preparation to handle the massive amount of family pets left behind. Pets were displaced from their state, sometimes shipped across the country and in the chaos, tracking where these pets landed was next to impossible. When people were able to return home, they had no idea where or if their pets survived.
Tropical Storm Harvey undoubtedly forced some hard decisions of people. Thankfully Katrina taught us all to be more accepting of rescues with pets because, in the end, it helps both the pet and their people. There is a difference between being forced to leave your pets and making the choice to. There have been media outlets documenting plenty of pets chained to trees or tied to poles, left helpless; thankfully rescuers are helping. These pets deserve better homes which they are bound to find thanks to the rescues and rescuers helping to save and shelter them.
A dog was saved from the flooded streets of the sun chase neighborhood in Hamshire. pic.twitter.com/AXzEWzdZes
— Jacque Masse (@jmasse12news) August 28, 2017
There is a difference between being forced to leave your pets and making the choice to. People still made a choice on some level to leave their pets and some media outlets have documented plenty of pets chained to trees or tied to poles, left helpless; thankfully rescuers are helping. These pets deserve better homes which they are bound to find thanks to the rescues and rescuers helping to save and shelter them.
How Can You Help?
Things are better but we should focus on what we can do now to help the pets displaced and most importantly the rescues and rescuers helping these pets.
Presidential Pet Care made this handy graphic that shares some other great resources to provide help.
Now that you have donated or reached out to some of these organizations to help – it’s time to take a look at your own evacuation plan. No time is better than the present if you are not presently dealing with Harvey.
How to Prepare to Evacuate
Natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and acts of God will happen. Sometimes we know about a storm a couple of days before but often we have no idea when something truly uprooting will occur. You cannot rely on the weatherman or the FBI, you must ALWAYS be prepared.
There is plenty of information about how to prepare you and your family for an emergency but please do not forget the pets.
Always have these items in a bag, packed and ready to go – stored in a hall closet or in your garage.
- Pet first aid kit – for a free list of items click here and then click on the “Be ready for an emergency with your Pet First Aid Kit” popup menu. You will want your first aid kit in a portable, water-resistant container that’s easy to access.
- Food, canned is ideal for safe storage as most have a 1-2 yr expiration
- Bowls to feed and provide water – Tupperware containers are ideal since you can use the top to cover any leftover food or water for transport.
- Leashes, collars, and most importantly tags. Have several leashes and collars packed even if you have one dog. Collars break or can be used for other tools such as to build into a harness when clipped together. Have your cat carrier or small dog carrier with the bag as well if you have a pet you can carry out.
- Rabies certificates – many hotels and shelters will consider taking pets but they need proof they are vaccinated and healthy as not to pose a risk to others. I laminate my rabies certificates so they are resistant to water damage and bring copies of my most recent vet records.
Set yourself a reminder every 3 months in your phone or calendar to check on expiration dates, refresh the food and update tags/collars or leashes.
Make Certain Your Pet Sitter or Boarding Facility Has an Emergency Plan
If you ever board your pets or leave them with a pet sitter – MAKE CERTAIN the facility or sitter has an emergency evacuation plan. Too many boarding places didn’t have a plan to remove the animals before Tropical Storm Harvey and while you might finally get back from vacation to a dry house, your pet may have suffered a terrible misfortune. Large boarding facilities should have a backup plan, a vehicle to transport the animals and a safe place to go. Pet sitters should have a similar protocol but on a smaller scale.
Don’t wait until something happens to make certain your animal care provider is prepared to handle your pets in a natural disaster.
What are you waiting for? Go pack your emergency disaster kit now!