It seems that I am always harping on the subject of disasters, but checking back I have written only two columns since February on problems and solutions when severe weather strikes.
Taking my cue from last weekend’s tornadoes in the mid-section of the country, I looked for articles on the very basic information needed by families with young children and pets when the sirens wail, warning of traumatic weather.
The first thing you need to do now is to make sure you can hear the warning siren in your neighborhood. The wailing or whistling of the siren should be loud enough to awaken you from a sound sleep. If you are not sure you will awaken, get a weather radio set that will alert you if there is trouble in or near your town. Be sure to test it to make sure it is working properly and is set loud enough to alert you.
If your house is sprawled out and it is difficult to hear the alarm even when it is placed in the center of the house, consider investing in two units, one for each end of the house.
The second thing you need to do now is to make sure each pet has a collar with identification on it as well as a rabies tag. Even little Chihuahuas can have a special collar with the owner’s name, address and phone number plus the phone number of the dog’s veterinarian typed in very small print, sealed in transparent tape and taped to the collar. At the first sign of approaching bad weather, switch the everyday collar for the “emergency ID” collar and exchange collars when the weather settles.
Larger pets can carry this identification on their collars every day, but check on them every few weeks. I had a golden retriever that was able to roll and pitch in the grass which removed the ID tags from the collar. If you find one of your pets without this information on the collar, make a tag similar to the Chihuahua’s information and tape it firmly to your larger pet’s collar.
As soon as you learn that bad weather might be headed your way, corral your cats in plastic cat carriers (throw a catnip toy in to keep them occupied for a while). Then get leashes for the dogs and place them where you can get to them in a hurry.
If this is all you have done in preparation, you are still ready to shelter-in-place or evacuate immediately. However, it is strongly recommended you have an emergency kit to take with you with food, water and sanitation supplies.
I mentioned children earlier. If you have babies, toddlers or even pre-schoolers, have name tags with pertinent identification to pin or tape on the back of their tops or sweaters. Check with the local police on the most important information to put on the tag. By placing the tag on the back, the child is less likely to pull it off.