The AVMA is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, American Kennel Club, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Humane Society of the United States to encourage pet owners to prepare for emergencies.
Together, these organizations have developed a new brochure—"Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense. Get Ready Now."—highlighting the key steps pet owners should take to prepare themselves and their animals.
By participating in the Ready Campaign, the AVMA encourages all Americans to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen and the appropriate responses.
The new brochure was announced by DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman May 31 during the HSUS National Conference on Animals in Disaster in Arlington, Va.
"Tragedies like Hurricane Katrina serve as a serious reminder that emergency preparedness is important for all members of households, including pets," Foresman said. "We are pleased to partner with these important animal organizations to encourage Americans to take action to prepare for emergencies and consider the needs of their pets in that process."
The brochure suggests making a pet emergency supply kit that includes food, water, medicines and medical records, a collar with ID tag, a leash or harness, and a picture of the pet with its owner. It also recommends pet owners learn which shelters in their area and along their evacuation route will allow pets in the event of an emergency.
In addition, the brochure urges pet owners to be informed and know about the types of emergencies that can happen where they live.
"Even if you are not in a hurricane zone, you should have a plan to care for your pets in case of disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, or tornadoes," said Dr. Cindy Lovern, AVMA assistant director for emergency preparedness. "It is essential to plan on a place where your pets can go and how to get them there if you are forced to leave home. If they evacuate with you, carry a supply of food and water and a first-aid kit for your pets. Make sure they wear ID tags, and consider microchip identification in case you get separated."
According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of U.S. households or approximately 69.1 million homes in this nation have a pet. The likelihood that these animals and their families will survive an emergency depends largely on the individual emergency planning done today.
The DHS promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps as part of a broader national effort conducted by the department's Preparedness Directorate. "Ready" is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council in partnership with Homeland Security.
For a free copy of the new brochure about emergency preparedness for pet owners, or for more information about emergency preparedness for individuals, families, and businesses, visit www.ready.gov, or call (800) BE-READY. For additional information on pet health and disaster preparedness, visit www.avma.org.