How To Deal With Natural Disasters

Natural disasters and severe weather events occur throughout the year. It’s always good to create a pet disaster preparedness plan. While an impending disaster can be stressful, if you have a plan in place for you and your family it will likely help ease anxiety in the situation. 

These elements need to be part of your plan.

1. Know where you’ll go if disaster strikes –
Choose a safe place where you and your birds can go if you need to evacuate or seek shelter. Your veterinarian may have a list of recommended safe boarding facilities, or you can reach out to your local shelter to ask if they provide emergency shelter for birds. If you are evacuating to a hotel, know which are pet-friendly. Most importantly, never leave your pet behind.

2. Have a pet disaster preparedness kit ready –
Having the critical supplies your bird will need in case of emergency is important, particularly if you’re forced to evacuate unexpectedly. Here is a list

  • FOOD – Have at least a (2) week supply of nonperishable food on hand at all times. Use the brand that your bird is used to eating. Store food in an air tight, water proof container.
  • WATER FOR DRINKING AND CLEANING – Have at least a (2) week supply of drinkable water available at all times. Store water in plastic containers and keep in a cool, dark place. Rotate water at least once every (2) months.
  • CLEANING SUPPLIES AND PAPER TOWELS – Have disinfectant and paper towels to clean the cage. Have at least a (2) week supply of whatever it is that you put on the bottom on the bird’s cage (i.e., newspaper, butcher paper, etc.)
  • EXTRA food BOWLS AND WATER CONTAINERS – Have several food cups and water containers to replace ones that might get broken.
  • FIRST AID SUPPLIES – Check with your veterinarian to find out what he/she recommends that you include in your first aid kit. Some suggested items include – disinfectant, kwik stop or cornstarch to stop bleeding, tweezers, heavy duty gloves (for handling the bird if it is injured and trying to bite), bandaging materials.
  • NET AND TOWEL – A long handled net with small enough openings so that your bird cannot poke its head through and a heavy towel, in case your bird escapes and you have to recapture it. A heavy towel or blanket will also help if it’s a cold weather disaster so that you can cover the cage to keep your bird warm.
  • EVACUATION CAGE or TRAVEL CARRIER – You should have a small cage for transporting (evacuating) your bird and be sure it is one that your bird cannot chew it to escape. Label your pet carrier with your bird’s name, your name, address, cell phone number, emergency contact and your veterinarian’s contact information. This will help in the event you get separated from your bird.
  • MEDICATIONS – If your bird is on long-term medication, be sure you always have at least a (2) week supply on hand. Your veterinarian may not be able to open for a while after the disaster strikes to fill prescriptions
  • VETERINARY RECORDS – Many shelters require copies of veterinary records to admit pets. Make copies and keep them with your disaster plan materials so you don’t have to search for them when the need arises.
  • FLASH LIGHT AND EXTRA BATTERIES – This can be used to regulate light hours for your bird, which is important for your bird’s health. As well, this can help you check on your bird if there is power loss.

Other tips to consider

  • PICTURES OF YOUR BIRD – Take some recent pictures of your bird, including any distinguishing marks. This can help you locate your bird should it get loose during a disaster. Include yourself in some of the pictures as proof of ownership.
  • MICROCHIP YOUR BIRD – If you live in an area that is especially prone to hurricanes and flooding, etc. you may want to consider getting your bird microchipped. Check with your veterinarian for more information about this permanent form of identification, which works great with birds.  
  • VACATION PLANS – If you are going on vacation and leaving your bird with a bird sitter or boarding facility, be sure you have discussed the evacuation plan with them and they agree to make your bird part of their evacuation plan as well. 
  • PRACTIVE YOU EVACUATION PLAN – Make sure your bird is comfortable with his travel cage. If possible, consider training him to wear a bird harness. If you have multiple birds plan in advance how you will transport them in your vehicle.
  • CASH ON HAND – If the electricity is out during a disaster, stores and vendors won’t be able to accept credit cards and checks may not be accepted. Make sure you have enough cash to get you through at least a week of provisions for your family and your birds.
  • COVER FOR YOUR TRAVEL CARRIER – Your bird will be in different environment with unusual sights and sounds. You may need to cover the travel carrier to help him adjust to the evacuation shelter, hotel room., etc.   Take a towel, light blanket or sheet to cover his travel cage.
  • EMERGENCY PET STICKERS – Affix a permanent pet evacuation sticker on your front door. This will help in the event a disaster happens while you are away for a few hours. You can get these from your local humane society. Make sure you indicate the number of pets in your home and provide an emergency contact number in case your birds need to be removed while you are away.
  • LEAVE WHEN THE AUTORITIES ADVISE –. Take the advice of the local professionals which can help maintain some calm amid the evacuation process. This also allows you to receive any assistance you may need from rescue workers, friends or neighbors before the disaster hits.

Safety should always be the priority for you, your family and your birds. Plan ahead, take the necessary precautions and have the tools on hand to help keep you safe during these disasters. If you are still unsure of what you need seek help from your veterinary professional or pet professionals in your area.

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