Suppose you are a policeman, fireman, other first-responder, veterinarian or just a person who is philosophically opposed to evacuation. You are determined to stay through the storm, no matter what.
If you intend to stay, many of the same preparation instructions still apply:
- You must have adequate supplies of medications on hand.
- Refrigerated medications must stay cool even when the electricity is off. Have a generator that is capable of running your refrigerator or know where ice can be obtained. Remember that recent rulings by disaster officials have deemed ice to be “not essential to life.” As such, your government cannot be depended upon to supply ice.
- Have adequate supplies of food for you and your pet. If your pet eats a special diet it may be weeks before deliveries are resumed. Dogs and cats on special diets for kidney disease, heart disease, liver failure or diabetes may not be able to survive without their exact food.
- Have adequate potable water on hand. Fill a bathtub with clean water if you have an extra. Fill gallon jugs or buy spring or distilled water. Don’t try to use last year’s water supply in plastic jugs. After Katrina I refused to waste water National Guard troops had risked their health and left their families to bring to us. However, it wasn’t long before that water took on bad smells and tastes from the plastic bottles and was no longer drinkable. A fastidious cat may die of thirst rather than drink water that smells or tastes bad.
In addition to those previously-mentioned items above, some other special considerations apply to the pets and owners who elect to stay behind in the potential danger zone:
- Have your automobile(s) fully filled with motor fuel. It may be weeks before fuel is commercially available again, and then only in limited supply. Have sufficient fuel for your generator, too.
- Know alternate routes to your pet’s doctor’s office. Having lived and practiced here for thirty years I knew many ways to reach our clinic and as obstacles impacted one route it was easy for me to conjure up another route. If your pet is injured you may need to reach his veterinarian and/or an emergency facility. 411 Information may not be working and police won’t have time to take your call for directions. Plan ahead.
- Have cash on hand. After Katrina even businesses who knew me wouldn’t accept a check because they needed cash to purchase replacement inventory and to pay their employees. Without phone lines credit cards were useless.
- Have first aid supplies on hand for yourself and your pets. Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds. Alcohol for disinfecting. General-purpose ointment like Panalog, Animax, Dermagen or Dermalone will help protect small wounds from infection, at least until veterinarians are operational again. Basic bandage materials such as gauze, tape and sterile pads will protect wounds from the elements. Be careful to avoid getting bandages too tight.
- Speaking of injuries, even the most docile pet may bite when injured. Having a washable muzzle for dogs and cats may mean the difference between being able to treat a painful wound and having one inflicted on you. Before going to the pet store ensure that your pet’s leash, collar or harness and pet carrier are in good shape.
- Special considerations need to be made for pets with allergies. Skin problems will likely be exacerbated in the heat and humidity of an un-air-conditioned home. Whatever medications your allergy patient takes regularly you should have in good supply. In addition, does he have some medications he takes only intermittently for allergy flareups? He probably has a special shampoo, or even more than one, which you will need to have in at least a two-week quantity. Allergy patients are predisposed to ear problems, so have plenty of your pet’s doctor’s recommended ear cleaner on hand, too.
- Last and anything but least: if you are not considered essential personnel, evacuate.