Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hurricane Prep: When Last Shall Be First

Okay, I'm not spooked but the hurricane preparedness chatter finally has captured my attention in the past few days.

First, there is a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean and another system heading westward off the African coast and both these babies are good candidates for cyclonic development.

Now, after a spell of hot and humid weather, scattered thunderstorms have taken over local weather for the next several days, and may generate several inches of rain and some flooding.

And on top of all that, news stories reported today that researchers have used a model developed at Coastal Carolina University as the basis for predicting one and maybe two major hurricanes to make landfall along the East Coast this season -- and none in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two years ago, I had prepared a hurricane kit in earnest, with lots of batteries, flashlights, a first-aid kits, water, canned goods, etc. This year, I've become more complacent. I've let the kit be raided and haven't faithfully replenished it. I will become a better steward of family readiness starting now.

What about pets? Unfortunately, some people think about them last, if they think about them at all. Consequently, there are heart-breaking stories in the aftermath of hurricanes about dislocated, disoriented dogs and cats.

"Hurricane season is upon us and all of us wish for the best, but prepare for the worst. We suggest everyone prepare for their pets just like any other member of the family. We recommend you make plans to take them with you during an evacuation."

Sandy highly recommended a website -- -- for listings of pet-friendly motels and hotels. Since the Red Cross does not permit animals in shelters (with the exception of service dogs), it is no doubt a good idea to contact some places to make arrangements ahead of time and get directions. Along with that, you'll need to figure (or guess) how far inland you will need to retreat to avoid any devastating winds.

Of course you bring your pet's vaccination and medical records, any medicines, enough food and water to last several days (don't forget the bowls), a leash, and potty bags. And you'll want to have a collar with a tag bearing critical ID information, and a microchip would be a good idea, too.

In short, you'd pack for your pet many of the very same kinds of things you would pack for your family and yourself: food, water, medicine, important papers, and toiletries.

The Humane Society also recommends bringing a crate. Sadie has never in her life slept in a crate but we do have one from keeping my son's dog Dasher. I guess it's good to bring one in the event of having to use an emergency shelter where crating is a requirement.

As terrified as Superdawg is of just a routine thunderstorm, I can't imagine her being anywhere except snuggled against us during any sort of tropical storm.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

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