SPRINGFIELD – According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, 65 percent of U.S. households include at least one pet. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.
Throughout the month of June, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies highlight the importance of emergency preparedness for pets.
“Pets are beloved members of many families these days,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “That’s why it’s so important to include your pet’s needs when developing your family emergency plan and stocking your emergency supply kit.”
Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:
At least a three-day supply of food and water
Extra supplies of pet medicines
Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency
A disaster may require you to evacuate your home, sometimes with little notice. It’s important to take pets with you, as an evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.
It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for or evacuate your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois
Photo: Officer Chris Schenk, Chicago Police Department, CERT Instructor and Andrew Mikolajczyk after the recent training at the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications. OEMC Training was very informative in understanding how dedicated Chicago first responders serve and protect people who live and work in Chicago. They work 24/7 to help others.
Officer Schenk has trained about 1200 civilian volunteers in Chicago since 2004. I got my first CERT training from him and other instructors in 2010. It has been very helpful ever since. Such trainings like CERT in Chicago by CPD and CFD are part of state and national trainings. Similar trainings are offered for civilians all over the United States.