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Tips for taking care of pets during winter

Winter storms threaten everyone in the family including pets.

Torrential downpours and saturated earth are typical of winter weather in western Washington and so is flooding. In fact, flooding is the most common and costly weather-related disaster in western Washington, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Major flooding situations can often result in communities needing to evacuate and take steps to protect their families and property.

Pets and animals may seem like secondary concerns when in the midst of a flood situation; however, having an emergency plan that includes pets and animals is a critical part of being prepared for floods and decreases the likelihood of the need for emergency rescues, which also put first responders in harm’s way.

Animal welfare gained national attention during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prompting Congress to pass the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act in 2006, which requires that state and local disaster plans include pets in their procedures.

Most recently, Super Storm Sandy has displaced what looks to be thousands of pets. According to the American Humane Association, some 15 million dogs were in the storm’s path. Search and rescue operations and temporary emergency shelters for pets lost in the storm are in full effect to help reunite families with their animals.

When making a plan for your pets, think first about the basics for their survival, particularly food and water. Consider two kits — in one, put everything you and your pets will need to stay where you are; the other should be a portable version that can be taken along during an evacuation.

Download a complete pet preparedness checklist at TakeWinterByStorm.org.

Simple steps, such as creating an emergency kit, making a plan for emergencies and staying informed can keep families and pets safe during bad weather and emergencies.

• The public is encouraged to take the following actions in preparation to be storm ready.

Create an emergency preparedness kit with at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water for your home and office. Kits prepared for vehicle road travel and winter weather evacuation go-kits are also advised.

Make an emergency plan and practice it with your family and those who depend on you — including animals.

Stay informed and monitor the weather approaching so you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

• Visit TakeWinterByStorm.org for more information and helpful resources, such as a downloadable preparedness and maintenance checklists and emergency contact cards.

• You can find Take Winter By Storm on TV, radio, the Internet, as well as on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

 

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