Tornadoes are terrifying and destructive—and they rarely give much warning. Encourage clients to create an emergency plan for their entire family, including pets, so they can stay safe during a tornado or severe storm. Following the recent disaster that struck Joplin, Mo., the experts at American Humane Association have put together a series of 10 tips to help before, during, and after a tornado.
Before a tornado:
1. Identify a tornado-safe area large enough for the entire family and pets—often a basement or the most interior room of the house on the bottom floor.
2. Practice getting the entire family to the tornado safe area quickly during calm weather.
3. Make the tornado-safe area pet-friendly by removing any dangerous items such as tools or toxic products.
4. Keep family and pet preparedness kits in the tornado-safe area or close by. Ensure that there’s a crate for every animal.
5. Know the pet’s hiding places and how to quickly and safely extricate them. Eliminate any unsafe hiding areas from which it may be difficult to remove the animal in a hurry.
During a tornado:
6. If an evacuation is possible, take the pets along. Take the pet preparedness kit and the pets’ identification.
7. If evacuation isn’t possible, take the entire family, including pets (both indoor and outdoor), to a tornado-safe room.
8. Put pets in crates or carriers in the safe room. If possible, place the crates under a sturdy piece of furniture.
After the storm has passed, use caution allowing your pets and other family members outdoors.
9. Exit only after the entire storm has passed.
10. Assess the damage before bringing pets outside.
11. Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier.
12. Watch for objects that could cause injury or harm pets.
13. Allow pets to become reoriented. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and cause your pet to become confused or lost.
14. Keep pets away from food, water, and other liquids that could be contaminated from the storm.
15. Keep pets away from downed power lines and debris.
Share these tips with your clients before the next big storm hits. You might help save a life or two.