Factoid: The official Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 – November 30. This encompasses 97% of tropical activity, so hurricanes do occur outside of this six month period. (Source: National Hurricane Center)
The Jacksonville Humane Society encourages each resident to have a plan in place in the event that you and your pet have to evacuate your home because of a storm.
The best way to protect your family from a hurricane is to prepare your plan ahead of time. It is important to know where you are going during an evacuation. If you have to evacuate, the simple most important thing you can do to protect your pet is to take them with you when you leave. If you must evacuate, then conditions are not only unsafe for you but unsafe for other living creatures as well, including your pet. Animals left behind can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals left inside your home can escape through damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves risk the possibility of neglect, exposure, starvation and food and water contamination. Leaving animals chained outside during an evacuation is a certain death sentence.
It is time for evacuation plans for people and pets. Over 60 percent of American households have a pet. After Hurricane Katrina, 61 percent of pet owners said they would refuse to evacuate ahead of a disaster if they could not take their pets. Hurricane Katrina has spotlighted the importance of the pet issue in a way no other disaster has.
The following items should be brought with you in the event of an evacuation:
- Your pet – bring your pet with you. If possible, bring a carrier that your pet is familiar with and is comfortable in.
- Collar with id tag, city license tag and rabies tag for each animal.
- Food – at least a three-day supply – sealed in an airtight container. Also bring a manual can opener.
- Water – at least a three-day supply of bottled water.
- Pet feeding dishes.
- Cat litter and litter box (for the kitties). Aluminum roasting pans make great disposable litter boxes!
- Leashes, harnesses.
- Blankets, towels for bedding and warmth, grooming items.
- Toys and other items of familiarity to reduce stress.
- Medications, medical records and a first aid kit stored in a waterproof container. Also, information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
- Recent pictures and descriptions of your pets, in case you are separated.
- Flashlight, spare batteries.
- Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, bleach.
The City of Jacksonville launched the Pet Friendly Public Evacuation Shelter Program to meet the needs of the community during hurricane season. The City of Jacksonville has designated three hurricane shelters as pet-friendly emergency shelters. Those shelters are Chimney Lakes Elementary School, Landmark Middle School and Mandarin Middle School. More information »