Sunday, August 19, 2007

Keeping Your Pet Safe In A Disaster(2)

As a result, however, some family members later try to return to the house to rescue their pet. This jeopardizes the lives of the family as well as the search and rescue personnel whose duty is to rescue them. AHA firmly recommends that public safety officials ask families to evacuate with their pets so that they will not feel the need to return when the conditions are even more dangerous.

In the spring of 1996, the small Wisconsin town of Weyauwega was evacuated when a freight train derailed. Several propane tanker cars were close to erupting. All 1600 residents were told to evacuate for what what was presumed to be only a few hours. Most of the evacuees chose to leave their animals behind for this short duration. However, it was determined later in the day that the safest course of action would be to allow the propane fires to burn themselves out. This, it was announced to the evacuees, might take as long as six weeks.

The animal-owning residents insisted that something be done more quickly. Some risking both explosion and exposure to the sub-freezing Wisconsin night, took matters into their own hands and walked the five miles from the barricades to their homes to rescue their pets. The public safty officials recognized that it was safer to work with the owners rather than try to keep people from attempting to rescue their pets. - Adventure Gear for Your Pet!

By using National Guard tanks to safely bring AHA rescuers and the animal owners back to their houses, all of the dogs, cats, birds and fish were rescued. These and local safety officials in other communities affected by disasters have learned a valuable lesson: The best rescue of an animal is the one that never has to happen in the first place. If the animal is included in the evacuation, it is an animal that will not have to be rescued later.

Certainly, the responsibility for a companion animal's safety belongs to the family. If all families made sure that their animals were included in their household disaster plan, the AHA would have far fewer animals to rescue in emergencies. That suits AHA just fine, says Nicholas Gilman, director of animal programs for AHA. "We hope that the animal-owning public will consider the needs of their companion animals long before AHA is called in to perform a rescue" - The aquarist's choice for live freshwater and saltwater fish, corals, live rock & sand, invertebrates, and live plants.

Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California

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