Preparing for Disasters

One of the greatest outcomes of Hurricane Katrina was FEMA recognizing the importance of pets during a natural disaster.  FEMA opened the door to the creation of pet friendly shelters.  People like the idea of being sheltered with their pets.

Anyone who ever worked with me, knows that I always keep my vehicle stocked with supplies in preparation of providing an emergency response; but, all of the equipment in the world isn’t going to help you if you are not educated in handling disasters.  One of the best ways to prepare your staff and volunteers is to train them as Community Emergency Response Team Members.  The above link will put you, your staff, and volunteers into contact with other community members dedicated to keeping your community safe in an emergency.  If you are working on the public side of a disaster, you will be required to complete FEMA training; this training, is required for most public officials dealing with disasters.

Often preparation is the most important aspect of disaster preparedness; but cleanup after a disaster will aid in being allow back.  I was never able to make headway in opening pet friendly shelters in a county in north Florida because one previous attempt was made, years before my arrival, in a public school.  Whoever organized the sheltering of animals in the school left the cleanup to school personnel.  School administration never forgot that.

It is an important reminder that cleanup after a disaster could be the most important aspect of preparing for your next disaster.  In the Boy Scouts, we always had a rule to leave a campsite better than we found it.  It is a good rule to follow when closing down a pet shelter following a disaster.