and Sheltering, and Post-disaster Safety
Check with friends, relatives, or others outside your immediate area. Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals, or just your animals if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may have to be prepared to house them separately.
Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies and include 24-hour numbers.
your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an
emergency. This should be your last resort, as shelters have limited resources
and are likely to be stretched to their limits during an emergency.
you are in an area that is being evacuated:
• Evacuate immediately if told to do so by authorities. Authorities do not ask people to leave unless they conclude that lives may be in danger.
• Listen to a local radio or television station and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. Local officials know the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
• Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. The most common injury following disasters is cut feet.
• Lock your home. Secure your home as you normally would when leaving for an extended period.
• Take your pets with you when you leave, provided you can do so without endangering yourself.
• Use travel routes specified by local authorities. Since certain areas may be impassable or dangerous, avoid shortcuts. Do not drive through moving water. Barriers are placed for your safety; if you come upon a barrier, follow posted detour signs.
If you have only
moments before leaving, grab your Disaster Supplies Kit and go. If it is impossible
for you to take your Disaster Supplies Kit, at least try to take the following:
• Any pets that you can get without endangering yourself. You may not be able to come back for them later, as it may be too dangerous to return.
• First aid kit, including prescription medications, dentures, extra eyeglasses, and hearing aid batteries
• A change of clothes and a sleeping bag or blankets for each household member
• Flashlight, radio, and water
• Car keys and house keys
• Cash and personal identification
• Bring all pets into the house and confine them to one room, if you can. If necessary, make arrangements for your pets. Pets may try to run if they feel threatened. Keeping them inside and in one room will allow you to find them quickly if you need to leave. If you have large, unusual, or numerous animals, start evacuating them or moving them to your shelter area (if you are sheltering in place) as soon as you are aware of impending danger. If you are using a horse or other trailer to evacuate your animals, move early rather than wait until it may be too late to maneuver a trailer through slow traffic, high winds, and heavy rain.
• Put your Disaster Supplies Kit in your vehicle or by the door if you are being picked up or may be leaving on foot. In some disaster situations, such as tsunami or wildland fire, it is better to leave by foot than wait for transportation. Carry what you can, selecting the items most essential to your health and safety.
• Tell your out-of-town contact in your Family Disaster Plan where you are going and when you expect to get there. Relatives and friends will be concerned about your safety. Letting someone know your travel plans will help relieve the fear and anxiety of those who care.
• Bring things indoors. Lawn furniture, trash cans, children's toys, garden equipment, clotheslines, hanging plants, and any other objects that may be blown around or swept away should be brought indoors.
• Look for potential hazards. Look for coconuts, unripened fruit, and other objects in trees around your property that could blow or break off and fly around in strong winds. Cut these objects off and store them indoors until the storm is over. If you have not already cut away dead or diseased branches or limbs from trees and shrubs, leave them alone. Local rubbish collection services will not have time before a major storm to pick anything up.
• Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker, and turn off water at the main valve.
• Leave natural gas on, unless local officials advise otherwise, because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on, and it may take weeks for a professional to respond.
• Turn off propane gas service valves. Propane tanks often become damaged or dislodged in disasters.
• If strong winds are expected, cover the outside of all the windows of your home. Use shutters that are rated to provide significant protection from windblown debris, or put pre-fit plywood coverings over all windows.
• If flooding is expected, consider using sand bags to keep water away from your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a wall one-foot (0.3-meter) high and 20-feet (6-meters) long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
If you are sheltering at home, you
• Stay in your shelter until local authorities say it is safe to leave. The length of your stay can range from a few hours to two weeks.
• Maintain a 24-hour communications watch. Take turns listening to local radio or television stations. Listen to battery-operated radio or television for local news updates for short periods of time to preserve the batteries.
• Remain calm and patient. Staying calm and patient will help you move safely and avoid delays or accidents caused by irrational behavior. Many people will be trying to accomplish the same things you are for the safety of their families. Patience will help everyone get through a difficult situation more easily. • Put your Family Disaster Plan into action.
• Listen to a local radio or television station for news and instructions. Local authorities know the most appropriate advice for your community’s particular situation.
• Check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people. Taking care of yourself first will allow you to help others safely until emergency responders arrive.
• Help people who require special assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
• Use your Disaster Supplies Kit.
• Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes. Disaster areas and debris contain many hazards. The most common injury following disasters is cut feet.
• Check for damage in your home. Disasters can cause extensive damage, sometimes in places you least expect. Look carefully for any potential hazards.
• Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Batterypowered lighting is the safest and easiest and does not present a fire hazard for the user, occupants, or building.
• DO NOT USE CANDLES. Candles can easily cause fires. They are quiet and easily forgotten. They can tip over during earthquake aftershocks or in a gust of wind. Candles invite fire play by children.
• Look for fire hazards, such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances.
• Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone outside quickly. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
• Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
• If you have no electricity, take precautions to keep food safe. (See Food and Water Safety During/Post Disaster”)
• Check for damage to sewage and water lines. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and drains and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.
• If your tap water is not working or is not safe, ensure that you drink only clean water. (See Food and Water Safety During/Post Disaster”)
• If you need to dispose of sewage, ensure that you do it properly. (See “Emergency Sanitation”)
• Clean up spills immediately. Especially important to clean up are spilled medicines, bleach, gasoline, and other flammable liquids.
• Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
• Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
• Watch animals closely. Keep all your animals under your direct control. Pets may become disoriented, particularly if the disaster has affected scent markers that normally allow them to find their homes. Pets may be able to escape from your home or your fence may be broken. Be aware of hazards at nose and paw or hoof level, particularly debris, spilled chemicals, fertilizers, and other substances that might not seem to be dangerous to humans. In addition, the behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake, becoming aggressive or defensive, so be aware of their well-being and take measures to protect them from hazards, including displaced wild animals, and to ensure the safety of other people and animals.
• Let your out-of-town contact know you have returned home, and then do not use the telephone again during the emergency period unless it is to report a lifethreatening emergency. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
• Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off. Water is often contaminated after major disasters. (See “Stocking and Storing Food and Water”)
• Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately. Getting damaged utilities turned off will prevent further injury or damage. If you see downed power lines, set out a flare and stay on the scene to warn others until authorities arrive if possible.