Keeping Pets Safe During Hurricane Sandy

Charity Offers Life-saving Tips to Help Keep Children and Pets Safe
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Following storm tracking on their mobile command center within the 82-foot Rescue Rig that will serve as a base and housing for its specially trained staff and volunteers, American Humane Association is driving its famed Red Star Animal Emergency Services team into position to be ready with the support of MARS Petcare US to help animals that may need rescue or shelter from Hurricane Sandy.

American Humane Association's legendary Red Star Rescue teams, which have been part of every major disaster relief effort for the past century, from rescuing horses on the battlefields of World I Europe to the Great Ohio Flood of 1937 to Pearl Harbor, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11, will arrive at its staging area in eastern Pennsylvania, in preparation for emergency rescue work throughout the region. The 82-foot truck and its convoy of chase vehicles carry rescue boats, a hoist, food and medical supplies, snap-together kennels for extending or creating animal shelters, food bowls and other items to keep animals safe and cared for. MARS Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE food for dogs and WHISKAS food for cats, has provided a grant to help the emergency deployment and is providing emergency food and supplies.  Red Star teams have saved more than 70,000 animals in just the past five years following catastrophes such as the Joplin, MO tornado, the flooding in Memphis, and the wildfires in Colorado.

"There are millions of people and animals in the path of this developing disaster," said Dr. Ganzert. "They are in danger and are frightened, but we will bring a century of experience and all of our resources in animal rescue. Help is on the way."

"We're pleased to work alongside the historic and renowned American Humane Association Red Star emergency relief efforts," said Debra Fair, vice president, Mars Petcare US. "Together, we will save thousands of lives, reunite families torn apart by forces beyond their control, and help affected communities become whole again."

Life-Saving Tips to Keep Children and Pets Safe from a Hurricane

Even as the giant Red Star truck drives toward its staging area, American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert ordered the issuance of life-saving tips to families in the hurricane's path.

"It is very important that families take action now to protect the most vulnerable among us," she said.  "There are things that can be done before, during, and after a storm to keep children and pets safe."

To that end, American Humane Association has prepared these emergency tips:

Before the storm

>>Tie down or anchor outside objects that might fly about and injure someone.

>>Bring children and pets inside; bring outdoor animals inside with a carrier ready large enough to turn around and lie down comfortably.

>>Review your evacuation plan and double-check emergency supplies, bowls, water, food.

>>Have a carrier at the ready.

>>If your family must evacuate, take your pets with you.

During the storm....if you cannot evacuate

>>Choose a safe room for riding out the storm—an interior room without windows – and take your entire family there, including your pets.

>>Stay with pets. If crated, they depend on you for food and water.

>>Keep your emergency kit in that room with you (food, water, litter, meds).

>>Know your pet's hiding places. That's where they may run; keep them with you.

>>Secure exits and cat doors so pets can't escape into the storm.

>>Do not tranquilize your pets. They'll need their survival instincts should the storm require that.

After the storm

>>Make sure the storm has fully passed before going outside and assess damages before allowing children or animals out.

>>Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier, and children close at hand. Displaced objects and fallen trees can disorient pets and sharp debris could harm them.

>>Give pets time to become re-oriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause a pet to become confused or lost.

>>Keep kids and animals away from downed power lines and water that may be contaminated.

>>Keep an eye on children's emotional reaction to the crisis. Talk to children – and just as important – listen to them. Reassure them frequently that you, local officials, and their communities are all working to keep them safe and return life back to normal. Watch for symptoms of stress, including clinginess, stomachaches, headaches, nightmares, trouble eating or sleeping, or changes in behavior. If you are concerned about the way your children are responding long after the crisis is over, consult your doctor, school counselor or local mental health professional.

>>Uncertainty and change in the environment affect animals, too, presenting new stresses and dangers. Your pet's behavior may change after a crisis, becoming more aggressive or self-protective. Be sensitive to these changes and keep more room between them, other animals, children or strangers. Animals need comforting, too. Comfort your pet with kind words and lots of pats or hugs. If possible, provide a safe and quiet environment, even if it is not their home.

For more news about American Humane Association's Red Star emergency work during these disasters and to support their work, please go to americanhumane.org.