By Sharon Carlson
Building a disaster kit is one of those items that linger at the bottom of the to-do list, but knowing what to do and having a plan in place in case of emergency is crucial in a situation where every second counts.
September is both National Preparedness Month and the peak of wildfire season in California, so it is a great time to stop and think about what you would do in case of a man-made or natural disaster for yourself and your loved ones — including your fur family.
What to Pick for Your Pet in Case of Emergency
It is important to have extra food set aside for your pet in case of a disaster. I have three cats and a dog myself. I put mine in a gallon zip lock bag alongside collapsible bowls and plenty of water. You should also include at least a three-day supply of food and water, leashes, bowls and the medical records of each of your pets in your disaster kit.
Just as drills and preparation are important for humans, animals need to be used to their crates before a disaster. Too often they have a bad association with their crate because it is only brought out when they are taken to the vet or the groomer, which could result in lost time or even a lost pet in a time of crisis.
Another thing people often forget to add to their disaster kit is a list of animal-friendly motels or hotels for when there is an emergency that requires you to evacuate your house such as a wildfire or earthquake.
Disaster Kit Basics for the Whole Family
In addition to pet supplies, here are six elements of a basic disaster kit, which should sustain you for 72 hours after an emergency:
- A source of light such as a glow stick or flashlight
- Plenty of drinking water (one gallon per person, per day)
- A first-aid kit with the essentials for any injury
- A portable radio where you can get the latest news if there is a power outage
- Nonperishable food
The small amount of time it takes to put together a kit in a plastic bin or trash barrel will feel like a smart investment in the case of earthquake, wildfire or other regional crisis.
Be prepared. Sign up to receive “Reverse 911” emergency alerts from Alert San Diego and find printable lists for your own home disaster kit at www.readysandiego.org. You can also download the SD Emergency app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, to have disaster preparedness information at your fingertips.
Sharon Carlson is director of emergency preparedness for Sharp HealthCare, where she chairs the disaster preparedness committee and represents Sharp on two statewide health care disaster preparedness committees.
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