Since the United States is currently in the midst of both tornado and hurricane seasons, it is a good time for breeders to establish or update disaster plans. Summer also brings thunderstorms, which often cause power outages.
Having an emergency plan allows you and your staff to act proactively and efficiently to keep dogs and employees safe. Discuss your plan with your veterinarian, friends, family and staff. Post your emergency plan so all family members and staff can easily find it. Practice your plan every few months. Holding drills is an excellent way to make sure your plan will work if a disaster strikes.
Preparing an Emergency Plan
- Include a floor plan or diagram of your kennel and/or home that clearly shows the location of all fire extinguishers, escape routes, and “safe” places to take dogs during natural disasters (such as a basement or inner room during a tornado)
- Make a step by step plan as to how dogs should be protected and/or evacuated during various types of emergencies
- Train all family members and staff on the disaster plan
- Hold regularly scheduled emergency “take cover” and evacuation drills
- Take a course in human and pet CPR and first-aid or assign a staff member to take this training
- Have emergency contact and medical information on file for all staff and all dogs
- Remember – health and human safety comes first. You cannot help your dogs if you are injured. Call 911 and then put your emergency plan into action.
Know Your Resources
Develop a list of these groups and their local contact information and post in your kennel and/or home.
- Government Agencies
- American Red Cross
- State SART Agency
- Local Resources
- Police/Fire Departments
- Nearest Hospital/Urgent Care
- Shelters/Pet Boarding Facilities
- AKC Clubs/AKC Pet Disaster Relief
Importance of Dog Records
One of the saddest, but most common occurrences during disasters is that dogs become separated and lost from their owners.
- Make sure all of your dogs are identified with a collar and tag and or microchip or tattoo.
- Have a master list of all your dogs at your home or kennel. Include their identification numbers/tag or microchip numbers; a description; and a recent photograph. Save a copy to your cellular telephone in case you lose your hard copy.
- Invest in a microchip scanner.
- In the case of an evacuation, try to mark all crates/carriers with the dog’s identification.
Planning for Evacuation
- Dog Transport: Stock adequate leashes, collars and crates necessary for transport. Make sure crates have secure doors and latches and try to have dog identification on each crate.
- Make sure you can fit your dogs into your vehicles if necessary. If not, make arrangements with friends, family and/or community volunteers who can help you evacuate your dogs.
- Look for places that could house your dogs for an extended period of time, if needed, such as family or friend’s homes, boarding kennels, or veterinary offices.
- Keep extra dog food and bottled water in supply
Suggested Emergency and/or Evacuation Kit Supplies
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Human First Aid Kit
- Disinfectant (wipes, liquid soap, bleach)
- Baby wipes
- Water and food dishes
- Microchip scanner
- Pet food with minimum 5-day supply
- Bottled water – 10 gallon minimum for every 5 dogs
- Water filtration tablets
- Leashes, collars, crates
- Crate/carrier identification tags
- Consider installing a generator for use during power outages
- For cold weather emergencies: portable heaters, space blankets, dog coats
- For hot weather emergencies: battery powered fans, cool coats, cool pads