Hurricane season spans from May 15 (for the Eastern Pacific) and June 1 (for the Atlantic) to November 30 of each year. Hurricanes and tropical storms pose unique and potentially deadly threats to areas in their paths and can quickly deplete available resources across the nation. While human safety is paramount, we have learned valuable lessons from previous hurricanes about the importance of incorporating consideration for animals in disaster planning.
Emergency management organizations should include veterinarians in the planning process and response operations. The health of animals, humans, and the environment are inextricably linked (i.e. One Health) and food safety is crucial; thus, veterinary expertise and input are vital to the success of the overall emergency management process. The AVMA encourages veterinary professionals in all facets of public, private, and government sectors to communicate and participate with their local and state emergency management organizations to ensure that veterinary medical resources are integrated in emergency management plans. Disaster planning should encompass the "all animals - all hazards" philosophy and include mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
We have assembled the following resources to help veterinarians and animal owners in the paths of hurricanes and tropical storms.