Between natural and man-made disasters that continually threaten American citizens, it is important to constantly review and update family survival plans. However, since many people rely on farm animals for their economic well-being, and many more have pets who are integral parts of their families, emergency preparedness should also cover animals, experts say.
To help individuals prepare their four-legged friends for disaster survival, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is providing informational resources on how to go about doing so.
It says that, just like with human preparedness, the key is to start early. It is important to familiarize yourself with the kind of disaster that could happen in your area — including a hazardous materials spill — and plan accordingly.
Each family or farm should have an animal evacuation kit, complete with information about the type and number of animals, their medical history, proof of ownership and emergency contact information. Owners should identify alternate sources of food and water ahead of time, as well as places — such as pastures, racetracks, veterinary college grounds, etc. — where large animals can be evacuated in case of an emergency.
Individuals who keep livestock should ensure that barns and stables are structurally sound and promptly remove dead trees and other debris that could hinder an evacuation, AVMA experts further advise.
Moreover, animal and pet owners should always have well-maintained vehicles full of gas, and enough cash on hand.
Finally, each animal — regardless of whether they are domestic or livestock — should have proper and damage-resistant identification on them, such as a microchip, collar, tatoo, leg band or an ear tag.
In addition to man-made disasters, which can happen anywhere, different areas of the United States are prone to earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires and floods.